Saline soils hamper various physiological functions in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]. One example is the reduction in nitrogen (N) uptake capacity, a major dysfunction that limits soybean growth and yield under saline conditions. Previous studies have revealed that tolerance to salinity varies with cultivar; however, the cultivars used in these studies were selected solely based on agro-morphological traits. In this study, we examined genotypic variation in salinity tolerance among 85 soybean genotypes which were selected based on an assessment of both single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) markers and agro-morphological traits. Additionally, we examined whether salt tolerance is associated with nodulation and N uptake. We used a subset of the world soybean mini-core collection (80 cultivars) and an additional five cultivars/genetic lines (NILs72-T, NILs72-S, Enrei, En-b0-1, and En1282). All plants were grown in pots and treated with saline (final concentration of 150 mM NaCl) during the vegetative growth stage. To evaluate salinity tolerance, we used the ratio of saline-treated (S) to control (C) plant total dry weight [DW (S/C)]. The ratio differed markedly according to genotype. Furthermore, salinity-tolerant genotypes exhibited superior nodulation, leaf greenness, and N uptake under saline conditions. These results indicate that there is a marked genotypic variation in salinity tolerance, and that the tolerant genotypes exhibit greater nodulation and N uptake, although further studies are needed to clarify whether the superior nodulation and N uptake of salinity-tolerant genotypes are responsible for the observed tolerance.
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