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Gene discovery could lead to better soybean varieties for Northern United States
Date:7/15/2014

Ma and his researchers to use natural plant breeding methods to develop a variety of semi-determinate cultivars.

"The potential for soybean yield productivity in the U.S. has not been fully explored, in part because of the lack of semideterminate cultivars," he said. "We're now working on converting high-yielding indeterminate cultivars to semideterminate types to test their yield potential."

Ma - who had previously identified Dt1, the gene that causes indeterminancy in soybeans - used an integrated genetic approach to isolate and characterize Dt2. After identifying the gene, he inserted it into indeterminate cultivars to confirm that it caused the plants to become semideterminate. Dt2 suppresses the expression level of Dt1, causing soybean plants to grow shorter.

Ma said this type of mutation appears to be unique to soybeans as semideterminancy in other plants such as tomatoes and chickpeas is caused by a different genetic mechanism.

Study co-author James Specht, a professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said the identification of Dt2 gives soybean breeders a powerful tool for breeding new cultivars.

"This provides breeders with a perfect genetic marker for identifying semideterminancy in soybean seeds and seedlings," he said.


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Contact: Natalie van Hoose
nvanhoos@purdue.edu
765-496-2050
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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