8 August 2013. Source: ACPFG KAUST RELEASE FINAL.pdf

ACPFG and KAUST sign MoU to deliver salt tolerant crops

The Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG) at the University of Adelaide and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), an agreement that will deliver salt-tolerant varieties of wheat and barley for the benefit of both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Australian growers.

The partnership will allow for transfer of materials, technologies, and resources between the two organizations, facilitating the development of crops that are able to grow in saline conditions. The project will also provide opportunities for student exchanges and joint PhD projects.

“Both KAUST and ACPFG have great resources and mutual interest in understanding and improving salinity tolerance in crops,” said Prof. Mark Tester, Professor of Bioscience at KAUST. “This international agreement provides a valuable opportunity to benefit agriculture in both the Kingdom and Australia – we all win.”

“The agreement is an exciting venture for ACPFG and Australia because our researchers will access additional information, resources, and expertise to investigate how these important crops respond to extreme saline conditions,” said Dr. Stuart Roy, Program Leader at the ACPFG. “The project will help deliver to Australian farmers’ crops that can grow in these tough conditions.”

In one part of this collaboration, ACPFG and KAUST will replicate laboratory and field trials to identify genes that play an important role in salinity tolerance, providing both organizations with extensive data on these cereals.