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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Oct 23;98(22):12832-6. Epub 2001 Oct 16.

Engineering salt-tolerant Brassica plants: characterization of yield and seed oil quality in transgenic plants with increased vacuolar sodium accumulation.

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Department of Botany, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.


Transgenic Brassica napus plants overexpressing AtNHX1, a vacuolar Na(+)/H(+) antiport from Arabidopsis thaliana, were able to grow, flower, and produce seeds in the presence of 200 mM sodium chloride. Although the transgenic plants grown in high salinity accumulated sodium up to 6% of their dry weight, growth of the these plants was only marginally affected by the high salt concentration. Moreover, seed yields and the seed oil quality were not affected by the high salinity of the soil. Our results demonstrate the potential use of these transgenic plants for agricultural use in saline soils. Our findings, showing that the modification of a single trait significantly improved the salinity tolerance of this crop plant, suggest that with a combination of breeding and transgenic plants it could be possible to produce salt-tolerant crops with far fewer target traits than had been anticipated.

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