WALNUT CREEK, CASoybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence. The sequence and its analysis appear in the January 14 edition of the journal Nature. The research team comprised 18 institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Purdue University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The DOE, National Science Foundation, USDA and United Soybean Board supported the research.
"The soybean genome's billion-plus nucleotides afford us a better understanding of the plant's capacity to turn sunlight, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water, into concentrated energy, protein, and nutrients for human and animal use," said Anna Palmisano, DOE Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research. "This opens the door to crop improvements that are sorely needed for energy production, sustainable human and animal food production, and a healthy environmental balance in agriculture worldwide."
With the soybean genetic code now determined, the research community has access to a key reference for more than 20,000 legume species and can explore the extraordinary evolutionary innovation of nitrogen-fixing symbiosis that is so critically important to successful agricultural crop rotation strategies.
Jeremy Schmutz, the study's first author and a DOE JGI scientist at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Alabama, said that the soybean sequencing was the largest plant project done to date at the DOE Joint Genome Institute. "It also happens to be the largest plant that's ever been sequenced by the whole genome shotgun strategywhere we break it apart and reassemble it like a huge puzzle," he said. Of the more than 20 other plant genomes taken on by the DOE JGI, those already sequenced in
|Contact: David Gilbert|
DOE/Joint Genome Institute