An interdisciplinary approach to breeding for stress tolerance in plants has gained considerable recognition in the past few years. Accordingly, this article presents a synthesis of the genetic, physiological, and ecological aspects of salt tolerance in plants. An understanding of these aspects and the interrelationships between them is essential for an efficient breeding program. A significant part of the presentation concentrates on the basic problems associated with the genetics of tolerance to stresses and of quantitative characters in general, since many of the unsolved problems relevant to the genetics of salt tolerance are still general. Significant progress in the breeding of quantitative as well as qualitative traits in multicellular organisms depends on an understanding of the genetic and epigenetic dimensions of gene action. The discussion therefore includes an overview of (1) the limited existing knowledge on the genetic control of salt tolerance and (2) the physiological mechanisms and molecular targets central to the control of salt resistance as expressed by the amount and stability of yield. An additional subject emphasized here concerns the main strategies of adaptation of wild species to their natural habitats. An understanding of them is essential to (1) enable distinction between traits that can increase agricultural yield and traits that are favorable only for survival under natural conditions (such a distinction is essential, especially when wild species are used as a gene source), and (2) predict the best combinations of characters for efficient agricultural production in stressful environments.
- Salt tolerance
- Tomato species