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Scientific Discovery Leads to High Salt Tolerant Barley

Scientists at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia looking to identify genetic connections to salt tolerance in crops, have discovered a genetic anomaly in barley that would create a strain that can thrive in highly saline conditions.

Barley with a specific genetic mutation on a point on chromosome (2H) grew 30 percent more barley plants under field conditions including salt water drip irrigation and sandy soil compared to a common variety. This information could be key as scientists strive to discover crops that can thrive under such conditions as soil salinity is proving to be an increasingly limiting factor to crop production – particularly under irrigation.

Associated colleagues to the team are planning to attempt to integrate this mutation in conjunction with others linked to salt tolerance into commercial lines of barley for testing across a wide variety of geographic locations.

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