A team made up of researchers from USDA, and 18 federal, state, public and private organizations has published in the journal Nature, their research on the soybean genome. The research is a result of efforts to sequence the majority of the soybean genome, providing an unprecedented look into how this important legume crop converts four critical ingredients -sunlight, water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen - into protein and oil, the basic building blocks for many consumer products.
Molly Jahn, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics, says this new information about soybean's genetic makeup could lead to plants that produce more beans that contain more protein and oil, better adapt to adverse environmental conditions, and are more resistant to diseases. This sequencing of the soy genome is the culmination of more than 15 years of collaborative research.
According to geneticists Randy Shoemaker, at the Agriculture Research Service Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit in Ames, Iowa, integrating the new sequence with existing physical and genetic maps of soy will move researchers closer to linking observable physical traits of soy to their associated genes and alternate versions of genes, thus speeding the development of new soybean cultivars.