Thirty conventional soybean varieties were added to the USDA's Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Soybean Germplasm Collection on Monday, thanks to a donation from Monsanto.
Monsanto officials announced the donation of materials expected to benefit global system breeding and research efforts at the 2004 Midwest Soybean Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.
"Monsanto is committed to the U.S. soybean industry, and we believe the addition of these varieties to the USDA's collection will mean that these varieties are maintained and available to the public as a genetic resource for research and breeding," says Alan K. Walker, Ph.D., Global Commercial Breeding Director for Monsanto.
Monsanto believes this addition to the collection will benefit plant breeders in their efforts to develop new soybeans for producers. Scientists and soybean breeders are expected to use the material in their efforts to develop new soybean varieties aimed at resisting pests, diseases, and environmental stresses -- including yield-robbing disease like soybean cyst nematode, brown stem rot, stem canker, and phytophthora root rot.
The seed varieties included in the donation are from Monsanto's seed genetics portfolio and were selected because they were widely grown, or have been commonly used as a parent in the development of newer seed varieties.
The purpose of the USDA-ARS Collection is to preserve and develop the genetic diversity of the soybean plant and its nearest relatives and to make these genetic resources available to scientists for soybean improvement. The USDA-ARS Soybean Germplasm Collection, located in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois, was established in 1949 and currently houses more than 20,000 different types of soybeans or relatives of the soybean.
This collection, one of 30 germplasm collections nationwide, distributes more than 20,000 seed samples each year to approximately 400 soybean scientists in 35 states and 20 foreign countries.
The USDA plans to keep these seeds viable by making samples of these soybean varieties available to soybean producers by increasing the amount of each seed variety. Samples are expected to be available for distribution in the fall of 2004.