A method to introduce salt responsive genes from halo tolerant organisms was used to generate salt resistant transgenic plants.
The progressive salinization of agricultural soils poses a major limitation for the growth and productivity of crop plants. Although engineering technologies involving drainage and supply of high quality water have been developed to overcome this problem, the existing methods are extremely costly and time-consuming. In many instances, due to the increased need for extensive agriculture, neither improved irrigation efficiency nor the installation of drainage systems is applicable. Current attempts to enhance the salinity tolerance of crop plants are based on conventional breeding and selection of resistant variants. However, such breeding techniques typically require years to develop, are labor intensive and expensive. The present invention relates to the transformation of salt inducible or salt-responsive genes into plants, thus turning them into having high salt tolerance.
- Salt resistant plants can grow in soils containing a high salt concentration
- Survival of salt shock
- Modification of plant recovery after exposure to salt stress
- The use of genes adapted specifically to very high salt concentrations, rather than genes from regular plants, makes the transgenic plants superior compared to other salt-tolerant plants
- Transgenic plants can grow in seawater, thus saving precious drinking water
The unicellular green algae Dunaliella salina, a dominant organism in many saline environments, can adapt to practically the entire range of salinities. Dunaliella proteins function at high salinity, and this special feature of the proteins was utilized in order to confer salt-tolerance in plants. In the outlined invention plants were transformed with genes from Dunaliella, thus creating transgenic plants that have increased tolerance to salt as compared to corresponding non-transgenic plants.