Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mapping and sequencing of soybean genome paves the way for improved soybean crops

14.01.2010
Crop improvements are expected to promote energy production, sustainable human and animal food production, and a healthy environmental balance in agriculture wordwide

Soybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first major crop legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence. This sequence, which essentially provides a parts list of the soybean genome, will help scientists use the plant's genes to improve its characteristics. The soybean sequencing study appears as the cover story of the January 13 edition of Nature.

Value of the new soybean sequence

Scientists will use the new sequence to identify which genes are responsible for particular plant characteristics, and then target specific genes to produce desired characteristics. These desired characteristics may include increases in the plant's oil content to promote the use of soybean oil as a biofuel; bigger crops; improved resistance to pests and diseases that currently claim large percentages of soybean crops; improvements in the digestibility of soybeans by animals and humans; and reductions in contaminants present in the manure of soybean-fed swine and poultry that may pollute farm runoff.

The research team plans to identify which soybean genes warrant targeting by:

Comparing the genomes of different varieties of soybean plants to one another.
Resequencing 20,000 soybean lines that are currently stored in the National Plant Germplasm System to identify desired variances of genes that are not currently captured by domesticated soybean lines.

"When soybeans were domesticated, they were selected for seed size and other traits, but there were a lot of potentially valuable genes left behind," said Scott Jackson of Purdue University--the corresponding author on the soybean genome paper. "There may be valuable genes associated with protein content or disease resistance in the stored lines that are not currently in the cultivated lines."

Having the new soybean sequence as a reference will significantly speed and reduce the costs of resequencing the 20,000 stored soybean lines.

A critical prerequisite to sequencing

The sequencing of the soybean genome was initiated by the production of a physical map of the soybean genome by a research team that was funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Production of this map was complicated by the complexities of the soybean genome. These complexities include duplicate copies of genes that account for 70 to 80 percent of the genome's 46,000 genes. These gene copies are scattered throughout the genome and so are particularly difficult to locate.

In addition, the soybean genome contains large numbers of transposable elements, also known as TEs. TEs are mobile DNA pieces that may impact gene expression, but are difficult to distinguish from genes.

The research team conquered the complexities of the soybean genome and produced the map of the soybean genome, which has a lower resolution than the sequence, as a critical prerequisite to the study's sequencing component. The map helped the researchers sequence the genome by enabling them to: 1) distinguish between TEs and genes during sequencing; and 2) break apart and then accurately reassemble the soybean genome as if it were a huge puzzle--as necessary to sequence the genome via the whole genome shotgun strategy.

A closely coordinated project

Because of the importance of the mapping project to the sequencing project, these two components of the study were closely coordinated. "The close coordination of support for this project," said Jane Silverthorne of NSF, "was facilitated by the National Plant Genome Initiative, which is managed by the Interagency Working group on Plant Genomes, whose members include DOE, USDA and NSF." Funding for the mapping/sequencing study was also provided by the United Soybean Board.

A complicated genome

Containing so many TEs and gene duplicates, the soybean genome is "the most complicated genome sequenced to date," said Jackson. And some of the same complexities that complicated the mapping and sequencing of the genome may also complicate the targeting of soybean genes. "If I'm selecting for a gene, I may have difficulty locating all of the necessary duplicates of that gene, explains Jackson. "It has a lot of backup copies."

Confident that such difficulties will be overcome, Silverthorne describes the new soybean sequence as "a valuable tool that will enable research towards a deeper understanding of the impacts of multiple genome copies on genome organization and function." Indeed, Jackson says that techniques developed to map and sequence the soybean genome are already being applied to other sequencing projects.

What's more, the results of the sequencing project have already provided grist for a second paper, which will appear in The Plant Cell on January 15, 2010. Jianxin Ma of Purdue University and a member of the sequencing team says that this second paper will explain how TEs thrive in the host genome: "We found that some 'dead' TEs can actually be revivified by swapping with their active TE partners, and thus restore or even enhance their ability to proliferate using the amplification machinery encoded by their partners. Although TEs are ubiquitous, what we discovered has not been seen in any other organisms yet."

Lily Whiteman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>