The Salt Lab Overview
Soil salinity is a major constraint to crop productivity, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. The Salt Lab started in February 2013. The aim of the research program is to understand the basis for natural variation in salinity tolerance of plants such as barley and tomatoes and use this knowledge to increase the salinity tolerance of existing crops such as wheat, rice, barley and tomatoes.

We are targeting gene discovery in barley and tomatoes because they have a good degree of tolerance already (so have genes worth discovering!), are diploid, inbred with a publicly available genome sequence and can be genetically transformed. We are focusing on naturally existing genetic diversity within the plants, as it is thought that genes discovered from this source are less likely to be associated with significant deleterious side effects.

We do not study salinity tolerance in total, but instead we use forward genetics to discover new QTLs/genes for specific traits that we hypothesize contribute significantly to the salinity tolerance of the whole plant.