Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Soybean genome sequenced: Analysis reveals pathways for improving biodiesel, disease resistance, and reducing waste runoff

Date:
January 14, 2010
Source:
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
Summary:
Soybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence.

Soybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence.
Credit: Roy Kaltschmidt, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Soybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence. The sequence and its analysis appear in the January 14 edition of the journal Nature.

The research team comprised 18 institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Purdue University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The DOE, National Science Foundation, USDA and United Soybean Board supported the research.

"The soybean genome's billion-plus nucleotides afford us a better understanding of the plant's capacity to turn sunlight, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water, into concentrated energy, protein, and nutrients for human and animal use," said Anna Palmisano, DOE Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research. "This opens the door to crop improvements that are sorely needed for energy production, sustainable human and animal food production, and a healthy environmental balance in agriculture worldwide."

With the soybean genetic code now determined, the research community has access to a key reference for more than 20,000 legume species and can explore the extraordinary evolutionary innovation of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis that is so critically important to successful agricultural crop rotation strategies.

Jeremy Schmutz, the study's first author and a DOE JGI scientist at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama, said that the soybean sequencing was the largest plant project done to date at the DOE Joint Genome Institute. "It also happens to be the largest plant that's ever been sequenced by the whole genome shotgun strategy -- where we break it apart and reassemble it like a huge puzzle," he said. Of the more than 20 other plant genomes taken on by the DOE JGI, those already sequenced include the black cottonwood (poplar) tree and the grain sorghum, both targeted because of their promise as biomass feedstocks for biofuels production.

"This is a milestone for soybean research and promises to usher in a new era in soybean agronomic improvement," said co-author Gary Stacey, Director, Center for Sustainable Energy and Associate Director and National Center for Soybean Biotechnology, University of Missouri. "The genome provides a parts list of what it takes to make a soybean plant and, more importantly, helps to identify those genes that are essential for such important agronomic traits as protein and oil content."

From the sequence analysis, Stacey said that he and his colleagues have identified more than 46,000 genes of which 1,110 are involved in lipid metabolism. "These genes and their associated pathways are the building blocks for soybean oil content and represent targets that can be modified to bolster output and lead to the increase of the use of soybean oil for biodiesel production."

While biodiesel from soybean oil represents a cleaner, renewable alternative to fossil fuels with desirable properties as a liquid transportation fuel, there simply is not enough oil produced by the plant to be a competitive gasoline on a gallons-of-fuel yield per acre. The availability of the soybean genome may provide some key solutions. "We can now zero in on the control points governing carbon flow towards protein and oil," said Tom Clemente, Professor, Center for Biotechnology, Center for Plant Science Innovation at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. "With the combination of informatics, biochemistry and genetics we can target the development of a soybean with greater than 40 percent oil content."

The availability of the soybean genome sequence has accelerated other soybean trait discovery efforts as well. For example, researchers have used the sequence to zero in on a mutation that can be used to select for a line that has lower levels of the sugar stachyose, which will improve the ability of animals and humans to digest soybeans.

In another effort, by comparing the genomes of soybean and corn, a single-base pair mutation was found that causes a reduction in phytate production in soybean. Phytate is the form in which phosphorus is stored in plant tissue. Because phytate is not absorbed by the animals that eat the feed, the unabsorbed phytate passes through the gastrointestinal tract, elevating the amount of phosphorus in the manure. Limiting phytate production in the soybean could reduce a major environmental runoff contaminant from swine and poultry waste.

Of additional importance for soybean farmers is that the genome sequence has provided access to the first resistance gene for the devastating disease Asian Soybean Rust (ASR). In countries where ASR is well established, soybean yield losses due to the disease can be as high as 80 percent.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Joint Genome Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

DOE/Joint Genome Institute. "Soybean genome sequenced: Analysis reveals pathways for improving biodiesel, disease resistance, and reducing waste runoff." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113131457.htm>.
DOE/Joint Genome Institute. (2010, January 14). Soybean genome sequenced: Analysis reveals pathways for improving biodiesel, disease resistance, and reducing waste runoff. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113131457.htm
DOE/Joint Genome Institute. "Soybean genome sequenced: Analysis reveals pathways for improving biodiesel, disease resistance, and reducing waste runoff." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113131457.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins