Crop breeding for salt tolerance in the era of molecular markers and marker-assisted selection

Muhammad Ashraf, Majid R. Foolad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Crop salt tolerance (ST) is a complex trait affected by numerous genetic and non-genetic factors, and its improvement via conventional breeding has been slow. Recent advancements in biotechnology have led to the development of more efficient selection tools to substitute phenotype-based selection systems. Molecular markers associated with genes or quantitative trait loci (QTLs) affecting important traits are identified, which could be used as indirect selection criteria to improve breeding efficiency via marker-assisted selection (MAS). While the use of MAS for manipulating simple traits has been streamlined in many plant breeding programmes, MAS for improving complex traits seems to be at infancy stage. Numerous QTLs have been reported for ST in different crop species; however, few commercial cultivars or breeding lines with improved ST have been developed via MAS. We review genes and QTLs identified with positive effects on ST in different plant species and discuss the prospects for developing crop ST via MAS. With the current advances in marker technology and a better handling of genotype by environment interaction effects, the utility of MAS for breeding for ST will gain momentum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Breeding
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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