Screening for tolerance traits in plant cell cultures can combine the efficiency of microbial selection and plant genetics. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation can efficiently introduce cDNA library to cell suspension cultures generating population of randomly transformed microcolonies. Transformed cultures can subsequently be screened for tolerance to different stress conditions such as salinity, high osmotic, or oxidative stress conditions. cDNA inserts in tolerant cell lines can be easily identified by PCR amplification and homology search of the determined nucleotide sequences. The described methods have been tested and used to identify regulatory genes controlling salt tolerance in Arabidopsis. As cDNA libraries can be prepared from any plants, natural diversity can be explored by using extremophile plants as gene source.