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Crit Rev Biotechnol. 2011 Jun;31(2):153-69. doi: 10.3109/07388551.2010.505908. Epub 2010 Nov 9.

Metabolomics: creating new potentials for unraveling the mechanisms in response to salt and drought stress and for the biotechnological improvement of xero-halophytes.

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Key Laboratory of Biotechnology & Bio-Resources Utilization, Dalian Nationalities University, Dalian City, Liaoning, China.


Breeders have long been interested in understanding the biological function and mechanism of xero-halophytes and their ability for growth in drought-stricken and salinized environments. However, the mechanisms in response to stress have been difficult to unravel because their defenses require regulatory changes to the activation of multiple genes and pathways. Metabolomics is becoming a key tool in comprehensively understanding the cellular response to abiotic stress and represents an important addition to the tools currently employed in genomics-assisted selection for plant improvement. In this review, we highlight the applications of plant metabolomics in characterizing metabolic responses to salt and drought stress, and identifying metabolic quantitative trait loci (QTLs). We also discuss the potential of metabolomics as a tool to unravel stress response mechanisms, and as a viable option for the biotechnological improvement of xero-halophytes when no other genetic information such as linkage maps and QTLs are available, by combining with germplasm-regression-combined marker-trait association identification.

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