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Professor Mark Tester, University of Adelaide

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Seminar
6 March 2012, 11am
at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee
for scientists, students and other interested parties
Image of the 2012 seminar series logo

Professor Mark Tester of the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics at the University of Adelaide will deliver this seminar entitled "Understanding and engineering salinity tolerance in crop plants".

Genetics and genomics are powerful tools for gene discovery. In this talk, forward genetic approaches for discovery of genes related to salinity tolerance in wheat and barley will be described.

Increasingly efficient transgenic technologies are generating large numbers of GM crop plants. However, gene expression often needs to be manipulated in more targeted ways by, for example, activating genes in only specific cells or at specific times. Using salinity as an example, it will be shown how gene over-expression in specific cells in the root can increase salinity tolerance, including in rice.

The genotyping of mapping and mutant populations is now highly efficient. However, the ability to quantitatively phenotype these populations is now commonly limiting forward progress in plant science. The increasing power of digital imaging and computational technologies offers the opportunity to relieve this phenotyping bottleneck. The Plant AcceleratorTM is a 4500 m2 growth facility that opened this year and which provides -omic-scale phenotyping of large populations of plants. New genetic loci for components of salinity tolerance discovered using this exciting new approach will be presented.

The application of these technologies provides opportunities to significantly increase abiotic stress tolerance of crops, and thus contribute to increasing agricultural production in many regions.

This seminar will take place at The James Hutton Institute Dundee and will be broadcast live to the Aberdeen site.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.