NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – BGI will re-sequence soybean genomes as part of a study run by the University of Missouri that seeks to discover new molecular breeding tools for improving crop stress tolerance and nutritional quality, the institute said today.
BGI will re-sequence 1,008 soybean germplasm lines identified by the university's National Center for Soybean Biotechnology (NCSB) program, and will provide library construction, re-sequencing analysis, five-fold soybean sequence genome coverage, and related bioinformatics analysis.
The "Better Soybean, Better Life" re-sequencing project is intended to identify genetic markers and variations and their associations with specific phenotypes and traits in order to enhance productivity, biotic and abiotic stress tolerance, and nutritional quality of US-grown soybeans. Researchers are particularly interested in improving the content and quality of the oil that comes from soybean seed, as well as enhancing drought and flooding tolerance, and resistance to nematodes.
The first 100 soybean lines to be re-sequenced will include new lines as well as lines that show desirable traits for which relevant genes can be targeted, BGI said.
In 2010, soybeans represented 58 percent of the world's oilseed production. The total US crop value exceeded $38.9 billion, and US soybean exports were a record $23 billion. Soybeans provided 68 percent of the edible consumption of fats and oils in the US, BGI said.
BGI has already sequenced the soybean genome as part of the 1,000 Plant and Animal reference genome project, which it launched to generate sequence assemblies of economically and scientifically important plant and animal species.
"The goal of our research is to further enhance US soybean productivity and seed composition for a variety of applications, which we believe will help sustain the US soybean producers' leadership position in the world and boost the US economy by increasing global exports and creating new jobs," NCSB Director Henry Nguyen said in a statement.
He said that though the total number of lines to be re-sequenced now stands at 1,008, the hope is that the work will eventually lead to partnerships that will increase that figure to 5,000 to 10,000 soybean lines.