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Soybean Genomics

The soybean genomics lab generates detailed chromosomal maps of the entire soybean genome using DNA markers or DNA fingerprinting technology, as commonly referred to.  These markers can then be used as “signposts” to identify and tag genes controlling traits of economic importance. This information is subsequently used in marker-assisted selection programs to accelerate the development of new cultivars with desirable characteristics.  Furthermore, these markers facilitate isolation of the desired genes and their transfer to different cultivars utilizing biotechnology and genetic engineering tools. Projects include locating soybean genes controlling resistance to fungal and viral diseases and genes responsible for quality traits such as sugar and phytate content. We are focusing on increasing desirable sugars (more desirable for humans) and decreasing undesirable sugars (better meal for animals).  In addition, other projects are focusing on lowering the phytate content (a form of phosphorus) as it is not digestible by animals and contributes to environmental pollution.