About the Project
Despite its beneficial and well-documented attributes, most studies in the recent literature focus on the negative impacts of Na+ (i.e. salinity) on plant growth. While understanding how to enable crops to grow more efficiently in the expanding saline environments across the globe is highly relevant, it is important to note that most temperate cereal crops are produced on non-saline soils. Surprisingly, little effort has been invested in understanding the interaction between plant genotype and crop Na+ nutrition under these latter conditions.
We recently demonstrated that allelic variation in HvHKT1;5 was responsible for Na+ accumulation in barley (Houston et al., 2020). HvHKT1;5 (P189) containing plants accumulated high concentrations of Na+ under low and moderate saline conditions that had no negative impact on plant yield (biomass). Indeed, our data tend to suggest that HvHKT1;5 (P189) provides a yield advantage under low Na+ conditions.
Here, we propose to explore the role of Na+ as a functional nutrient in barley using impaired variants of HvHKT1;5 that accumulate high levels of Na+ in both leaves and grain.
1. To assess the impact of Na+ on the performance of barley isolines containing alternative alleles of HvHKT1;5 in low K+ environments under optimal and stress conditions.
2. To explore transcriptional responses of HKT1;5 allelic isolines to different Na+ concentrations under low K+.
3. To identify additional genetic factors that modify tissue Na+, K+ or other mineral nutrient contents and assess their interdependencies.
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