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Soybean map will help boost protein levels

Researchers from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have identified a qualitative trait locus (QTL) that has a “striking effect on [soybean] seed protein content” from a genetic map they have developed of the soybean genome. The QTL is part of the Linkage Group I part of the genome, which also contains 13 genes involved in regulating oil and protein content in seeds, and associated molecular markers. The researchers further found that seed protein levels were determined early in development. Plant breeders will be able to use the markers to select soybean lines likely to have a higher protein content, the researchers note. This will be of particular benefit to growers in the Mid-West, where soybean proteins yields are often lower than elsewhere. Details of the study were published in the US journal, BMC Plant Biology.

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