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  • 1 Crop Sciences Institute, National Agriculture Research Centre Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 2 Crop Sciences Institute, National Agriculture Research Centre Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 3 Crop Sciences Institute, National Agriculture Research Centre Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 4 School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool Liverpool, UK
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The objective of this project was to develop understanding about the possibility of improving salt tolerance in pearl millet using selection and breeding methods. A collection of 143 pearl millet accessions was obtained from nineteen countries in different regions of the world, mostly from dry hot environments, e.g. Yemen, Sudan, the Central African Republic and Niger. Considerable genetic variability was found in these accessions for salt tolerance. Based upon a preliminary examination of the responses to NaCl solution in a selection of accessions, it was decided that 160 mM NaCl would be the reference parameter for assessing tolerance. The six most salt-tolerant accessions were 10876 and 10878 from Sudan, 18406 and 18570 from Namibia, and ICMV-93753 and ICMV-94474 from India, all of which had relative root lengths of above 70%. Accessions 213011 and 21351 were very sensitive, their relative root length being below 30%. Unfortunately, the areas from which the tolerant accessions from Sudan, Namibia and India originated are not known, but it is possible that they may have inhabited dry, saline lands.

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