A Sweeter Life For Crops In Salty Soil

FARMERS HAVE MADE STEADY GAINS AGAINST PESTS AND DISEASES in recent years. But salty soil has proven a tougher enemy. Every year, California alone loses some $500 million in stunted crops and fields that must be abandoned because of excess salt. Now, molecular biologist Julian Schroeder of the University of California at San Diego says he has identified a gene, called HKT1, that regulates salt uptake in wheat. By manipulating the gene, scientists may be able to create salt-resistant crops.

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