Soil salinity is a great threat to cotton production worldwide. Plant adaptation to environmental stresses involves the expression of specific stress-related genes. Consequently, engineering genes that protect and maintain the function and structure of cellular components can enhance tolerance to salinity stress. Engineered cotton plants have been reported to perform much better than their wilt plants either in greenhouse or field conditions under salinity stress. However, engineered cotton with improved salt-tolerance is still far behind the requirements of commercial production due to its limited salinity tolerance or poor agronomic performance. This review highlights recent advances in genetic improvement, particularly molecular breeding for salinity tolerance of cotton. It is suggested that future research should focus on the development of specific cotton cultivars with high salt tolerance through a combination of traditional breeding and molecular technology.
Key words: Cotton, salinity tolerance, genetic improvement, molecular breeding
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