Phase 1 (2005 Deadline)
Gene Pyramiding through Genetic Engineering for Increased Salt Tolerance in Wheat
Eduardo Blumwald, University of California, Davis
Anjuman Arif, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering
Pakistani Funding (MoST): $ 47,880
US Funding: $350,000
Project Dates on US Side: January 1, 2006 - June 30, 2010 (Completed)
This project was aimed at developing salt-tolerant wheat varieties that will grow and produce high yields in areas where the soils have high salt content or are irrigated with brackish ground water, conditions common in many parts of Pakistan. The researchers involved in this project worked to achieve their goals by pyramiding two well-characterized salt tolerance genes (the Arabidopsis thaliana vacuolar sodium proton antiporter AtNHX1 and a heat shock family-related transcription factor isolated from Candida tropicalis CtHSR1) introduced in wheat by Agrobacterium-mediated co- or stepwise transformation.
- Transformed wheat and rice plants with CtHSR 1 and AtNHX1, tested single traits (both in rice and wheat) in greehouse, initiated crossing experiments, and advanced significantly in the characterization of single traits
- Provided long-term training experience at UC Davis for two Pakistani researchers and involved a total of 16 scientists, junior researchers, and students
- Published four papers
- Established new collaborations with four other international experts in wheat transformation and wheat breeding
Progress Report Summaries
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2009 Show summary || Hide summary
During 2009, this team worked to complete winter greenhouse experiments with wheat and rice and initiated field experiments in the summer of 2009 on those lines found to have performed best in the greenhouse trials. Several additional linkages were initiated as a result of this project, including with USDA-ARS in Albany, California, the International Rice Research Institute, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. Dr. Blumwald reported that these collaborations will be useful not only in bringing additional expertise to bear but also in carrying out the necessary field trials for the plants being developed.
2008 Show summary || Hide summary
During 2008, efforts focused on propagating rice and wheat plants expressing AtNHX1 and ScHSR1, further characterizing transgenic plants expressing ScHSR1, and completing the characterization of the CtHSR1 plants (rice and wheat). This latter effort in particular should facilitate the development of transgenic material that will serve for the introduction of the traits into commercial varieties. Another scientist from NIBGE, Mrs. Saima Iqbal, joined the group at UC Davis (all costs for her visit were paid by the Pakistani side).
2007 Show summary || Hide summary
In 2007, the transgenic rice plants created in 2006 were grown and tested in the greenhouse under various salinity and heat stress conditions. After overcoming some initial problems with the wheat constructs during the first year of their project, they produced T1 and T2 lines expressing NHX1, and T1 lines expressing HSR1. Following the visit by Anjuman and Muhammad Arif, two other Pakistani scientists made extended visits to UC Davis. Mr. Moddassir C. Ahmed from NIBGE, who arrived in late 2007, remained at Davis as of early 2009, and Mr. Ejaz Hussain Siddiqi of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, returned to Pakistan in December 2008. As a side benefit to this project, with additional support provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Blumwald also organized a US-Pakistan Symposium on Abiotic Stress in Crop Plants at UC Davis November 4-6, 2007.
2006 Show summary || Hide summary
The project was somewhat delayed at its outset in 2006 because of difficulties the Pakistani partners encountered in obtaining visas to visit Dr. Eduardo Blumwald’s lab, but Dr. Muhammad Arif and Dr. Anjuman Arif of the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE) successfully completed one-year working visits at UC Davis at the end of August 2007.
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