Genetic modification of barley for improved drought tolerance

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office


This collaborative project with the University of Jordan will examine possible strategies for the improvement of drought tolerance in barley varieties currently of agronomic importance in Jordan. The project has two main objectives: 1. To develop efficient regeneration systems, either from immature embryos or from mature embryo-derived callus, for the cultivars Rum and/or Mutah. Once good regeneration is established, to develop Agrobacterium-mediated transformation methods for these cultivars. 2. To test specific promoters that may be of value in a strategy to engineer drought tolerance and to test specific candidate genes, firstly in the model variety Golden Promise and later in Rum and/or Mutah. The experimental approach will be to firstly test our established regeneration and transformation protocol, used routinely for Golden Promise, with the Jordanian varieties. The culture conditions and transformation conditions will then be adapted as necessary to develop a transformation system for the Jordanian varieties. The candidate genes and promoters will be introduced into Golden Promise and the resulting transgenic plants will be assayed using a range of molecular and phenotyping techniques. If a transformation system can be developed for either Rum and /or Mutah, then the best candidate genes will also be transferred to these varieties.


10 25 50
Description This project found that making a particular barley gene (HvSNAC1) more active in barley led to the plants being more drought tolerant under both glasshouse and field conditions. This leads to the possibility of developing more drought tolerant barley varieties in the future.
Exploitation Route The findings from this project could provide the basis for the development of more drought tolerant barley varieties. Such varieties could be valuable in providing improved yields under more extreme climatic conditions.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

Description It was shown that over-expression of the barley SNAC1 gene in barley could confer drought tolerance. This was demonstrated in both glasshouse and field trials. It was concluded that the HvSNAC1 gene could be useful for improving barley productivity under field drought conditions without having negative impacts on plant growth under normal field conditions.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic