After 15 years of collaborative research, the USDA announced Jan. 13 that its scientists and their partners have sequenced the majority of the soybean genome.
"Soybean and other legumes play a critical role in global food security and human health and are used in a wide range of products, from tofu, soy flour, meat substitutes and soy milk to soy oil-based printing ink and biodiesel," says Molly Jahn, USDA Deputy undersecretary for research, education and economics. "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, or are more resistant to diseases."
The research team involved is made up of 18 federal, state, public and private organizations. The team published its research findings in the scientific journal Nature in conjunction with the USDA announcement.
A major discovery resulting from the research includes discovering a soybean gene conferring resistance to Asian soybean rust or ASR, which the researchers note can cause 10-80% soy losses.