For almost a decade, only one soybean cultivar - "Williams 82" - had been
sequenced. Now, scientists at the University of Missouri led by Henry
Nguyen, a Curators' distinguished professor of plant sciences in the College
of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources mapped two more. Focusing on
soybeans grown in southern U.S., as well as a wild ancestor, Nguyen's team
mapped soybean cultivar "Lee" and wild type PI 483463. Using NRGene's
DeNovoMAGICT, the Lee and PI 483463 assemblies were delivered, resulting in
genome assembly sizes of 1,021 MB and 960 MB and N50 scaffold sizes of 4.57
MB and 4.44 MB with BUSCO scores of 94.9% and 95.3% respectively. Those are
the most accurate and complete genome representations of these cultivars.
Having a map of soybean benes is important for breeders, who work to develop
varieties that farmers can use to help battle diseases and other
environmental factors. Soybean is an extremely important crop on a worldwide
level. Approximately 340 million metric tons of soybeans are produced
globally each year, with the market for soybeans worth $40 billion each year
in the U.S. alone.
Nguyen said, "Having those reference genomes gives us a solid foundation to
build on and allows us to continue to understand the genetic diversity of
soybeans. If we want to increase yields, improve disease resistance and seed
composition quality, and allow for better stress adaptation and resilience,
we have to understand how the genetics work."