Building better soybeans
Mar 9, 2012
Some researchers have identified soy as an important component in developing food for the future. This study focuses on DNA sequencing soy beans in hopes of building better ones for the future.
The National Center for Soybean Biotechnology (NCSB) at the University of Missouri has begun a project to sequence the DNA of 1,008 commercially important soybean varieties. The effort is designed to provide a multifold increase in genetic data to breeders to create improved soybeans that are more productive, more disease tolerant and have improved nutritional quality.
The number of lines to be sequenced – 1,008 – was chosen because the numeral eight in Chinese denotes prosperity, stated Henry Nguyen, NCSB director. Soybeans originated in China. The first sequencing of a single soybean line occurred in 2008.
There are about 20,000 soybean varieties – most of which have not been sequenced. Sequencing creates a complete DNA roadmap of an organism. Each of several thousands of points on this map control a specific characteristic of the plant. With such data, breeders can breed new lines with more desirable qualities and fewer problems. More…