The breakthrough will enable wheat farmers to achieve higher yields of durum wheat in saline soils. Although durum wheat is less salt tolerant than bread wheat it attracts a premium price because of its superior pasta making qualities.
The CSIRO Plant Industry research team responsible for the breakthrough isolated two salt tolerance genes (Nax1 and Nax2) derived from the old wheat relative Triticum monococcum. Both genes work by excluding potentially toxic sodium from the leaves by limiting its passage from the roots to the shoots.
Through traditional, non-GM breeding methods aided by molecular markers the team was able to introduce the salt exclusion genes into durum wheat lines.
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<table style="border:1px solid;padding:2px; width:310px;" ><tr><td><a href="https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/image/11385/"><img src="https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/images/embed/300_0_BP12052.jpg" width="300" alt="Pasta made from durum wheat" style="margin: 0 0 5px 0; border: 0px;"></a><br/><a href="https://www.scienceimage.csiro.au/image/11385/">Pasta made from durum wheat</a><br />by CSIRO</td></tr></table>
Pasta made from durum wheat
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