Navigation Links
Soybean grant gives researchers tools to unravel better bean

For millennia, people have grown soybeans and turned them into many useful products. But when it comes to understanding why a soybean grows, blooms or produces like it does, researchers are left with unanswered questions.

University of Georgia professor Wayne Parrott aims to find the answers with a three-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and a jumping gene in rice found by a UGA colleague.

"I'm convinced that soybeans would be so much more useful and flexible if we knew what genes we need to be working with," said Parrott, a crop and soil sciences professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The soybean's genome was sequenced, or mapped, earlier this year. Now Parrott and his colleagues from the universities of Nebraska, Missouri-Columbia and Minnesota are taking soybean's genetic map and translating it so that soybean breeders can use it to produce a better bean.

Parrott is using a jumping rice gene for his part of the research. His counterparts are using radiation.

UGA plant biology professor Sue Wessler found the jumping gene in rice. Her discovery is unique. The gene is one of only a few with the ability to cut themselves out of and move to another location in the genome, altering it, Parrott said.

She shared the technology. Parrott's lab will insert the jumping rice gene into soybean plants. When something changes in a plant with the added jumping gene such as how fast it flowers they will then search the plant genetically. When they find the jumping gene presumably in a new location in the genome they can identify the modified gene there and, in this example, know what caused the plant to bloom faster.

The more genes they identify using the jumping gene technique, the more they'll know about the soybean and what they can do to improve it. The soybean has a few issues that could stand modifying, Parrott said.

On grocery store shelves, soybeans may seem like the perfect plant. It can be made into tofu and its synthetic meat products. However, the bean's protein is not balanced to the 21 amino acids humans need for a healthy diet. In addition, soybean oil contains trans fats after it's processed.

On the agricultural side, an improved soybean variety would allow farmers to plant a crop that produces more soybeans using the same amount of land. And with soybean plants that are disease and insect resistant, farmers wouldn't have to apply as much money-draining pesticides.

Farmers could also grow varieties that produce more oil or more protein.

"Genome sequencing and gene discovery is starting to open a new, exciting era for us," Parrott said.

It's a good time for soybeans. Since 1982, the U.S. has had a 15 percent increase in total soybean production.

"Acreage-wise, soybeans are among the top three crops in the United States," Parrott said. "It's the No. 1 source of vegetable oil and vegetable protein. In that regard, it's the most important of the crops."

Soybeans are used for adhesives, alternative fuels, disinfectants, plastics, salad dressings, particleboard, candy, cookies and swine feed, to name a few. "It just boggles the mind that it lends itself to so many different uses," Parrott said. "It's even in furniture care products."


Contact: Stephanie Schupska
University of Georgia

Related biology news :

1. Deadlines for 2007 National Soybean Rust Symposium fast approaching
2. DOE JGI releases soybean genome assembly to enable worldwide bioenergy research efforts
3. Soybean varieties viable in southern Indiana, resistant to root-knot nematode
4. UCs NIH grant brings technology from outer space to playgrounds
5. Seattle Childrens Hospital leads $23.7 million NIH grant to study gene repair
6. Homeland Security awards 2 grants to Rutgers for nuclear threat detection
7. NIH awards researcher $1.5 million new innovator grant for fruit-fly studies of prion proteins
8. UGA Odum School of Ecology professor receives grant to study West Nile Virus in NYC
9. Genes and environment grant funds close look at nature-nurture overlap in common diseases
10. Mustafa alAbsi Ph.D. and national team awarded major NIH grant
11. NIH awards UC $9 million grant to improve patient point-of-care technologies
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... Connecticut , November 20, 2015 ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... CEO, Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed on ... interview will air on this weekend on Bloomberg ... Latin America . --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... VIEW, Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015  Based ... market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 ... Leadership. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award ... product line catering to the needs of the market ... the product line meets and expands on customer base ...
(Date:11/19/2015)...  Although some 350 companies are actively involved in ... companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, ... share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according ... Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... by one company and only a handful of companies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the ... (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost ... but higher volume share for the region in ... however, margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HILLS, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... as the recipient of the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, ... golf through his or her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference in New York on ... Dr. Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. ... communication and investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: