Staying on top of all the latest ag technology, field data and research can be overwhelming. That’s why the Soybean Research & Information Initiative, formerly the Plant Health Initiative, continually provides you with access to expert information and news about soybean pests, diseases, and agronomics. The aim of this check off-funded website is to communicate the on-going progress and current understanding coming from your active and wide-ranging U.S. soybean research programs. Please visit often!

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Breeding to Improve Resistance to Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) as a Means to Protect Yield
Thu, June 23, 2016
By Brian Diers, Soybean Breeder, University of Illinois

Planting the most resistant varieties available is the foundation of an SDS management program. Keep in mind that planting partially resistant varieties does not ensure complete control of the disease, but it will minimize yield loss. Our work on the projects Increasing Profits through Genetic Resistance to SDS and Breeding to Improve Resistance to SDS in Soybean as a Means to Protect Yield, funded by the North Central Soybean Research Program over the past three years, has made good progress towards the goal of providing growers with soybean varieties with increasing SDS resistance. 

Through the first project, genes that confer resistance to SDS were mapped, and previously mapped genes were confirmed by breeding them into new varieties. We conducted gene expression studies which showed that mechanisms of resistance to SDS act in both the roots and leaves of soybean plants. Mapped and confirmed genes are now being integrated into breeding programs through the use of marker-assisted selection, which should help increase the pace of developing resistant varieties.

In the second project, which is led by Silvia Cianzio at Iowa State University, breeders throughout the north-central states have focused on developing high-yielding, SDS-resistant varieties and germplasm. The project has supported region-wide testing of the SDS resistance of potential varieties, which is critical to breeding programs. Through these efforts, at least 17 varieties and germplasm lines have been released.

Public soybean breeders in the north-central states are organizing a coordinated checkoff-funded breeding project with a goal of increasing the rate of genetic gain for yield. This project is being coordinated by Leah McHale at The Ohio State University and will encompass efforts of an ongoing project led by Aaron Lorenz at the University of Minnesota. The goals of this project will be accomplished by increasing the coordination of breeding efforts among programs in the different states, improving the statistical design of experiments, increasing the utilization of genetic diversity for yield, and developing new molecular marker methods to select for yield.

For the most current information on the management of SDS in the north-central region, please see Sudden Death Syndrome and Scouting for Sudden Death Syndrome. For more information on specific SDS-resistant soybean varieties, check with your seed dealer.  Many university variety tests also provide some SDS testing results.