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J Exp Bot. 2010 Feb;61(4):1125-38. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erp376. Epub 2010 Jan 15.

Dissecting the genetic control of natural variation in salt tolerance of Arabidopsis thaliana accessions.

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Department of Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, 1-1-1 Sakuragaoka, Setagaya, Tokyo 156-8502, Japan.


Many accessions (ecotypes) of Arabidopsis have been collected. Although few differences exist among their nucleotide sequences, these subtle differences induce large genetic variation in phenotypic traits such as stress tolerance and flowering time. To understand the natural variability in salt tolerance, large-scale soil pot experiments were performed to evaluate salt tolerance among 350 Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. The evaluation revealed a wide variation in the salt tolerance among accessions. Several accessions, including Bu-5, Bur-0, Ll-1, Wl-0, and Zu-0, exhibited marked stress tolerance compared with a salt-sensitive experimental accession, Col-0. The salt-tolerant accessions were also evaluated by agar plate assays. The data obtained by the large-scale assay correlated well with the results of a salt acclimation (SA) assay, in which plants were transferred to high-salinity medium following placement on moderate-salinity medium for 7 d. Genetic analyses indicated that the salt tolerance without SA is a quantitative trait under polygenic control, whereas salt tolerance with SA is regulated by a single gene located on chromosome 5 that is common among the markedly salt-tolerant accessions. These results provide important information for understanding the mechanisms underlying natural variation of salt tolerance in Arabidopsis.

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