Database Research Summaries
2018 Increasing Soybean Oil Yield by Targeted Silencing of a Novel Negative Regulator of Fatty Acid Synthesis

calendar_today Year of Research: 2018
update Posted On: 12/05/2019
group Jay Thelen (Principal Investigator, University of Missouri)
bookmark United Soybean Board

Research Focus

The focus of this project is to determine the technical feasibility and market size for developing soybean germplasm with a fatty acid profile that is beneficial to human health, including fatty acids such as arachidonic (AA), eicosapentaenoic (EPA), stearodonic (SDA) and docosahexanoic (DHA).


  • The fifteen transgenic RNAi BADC soybean plants the Thelen lab currently have are being systematically screened using PCR on isolated genomic DNA of both T1 parental leaves and T2 seed chips.
  • All positive, independent transgenic events from Activity 1 will be phenotyped for seed composition traits to carefully correlate reduction of BADC expression with the seed phenotype.
  • If RNAi knockdown of BADC genes is ineffective, and we will know if this is the case within the first month or two of funding for this round, we will immediately begin synthesizing the gene cassette for CRISPR-Cas9 targeted mutagenesis of all soy BADC genes.


  1. Previously oil and protein content had been monitored using a gravimetric and dye-binding procedure, respectively; we developed for small (10mg) seed chips in the lab. The results from this assay did not show any change in either oil or protein content from any of the twelve transgenic lines when compared to either non-transgenic or empty vector control plants grown under the same conditions.
  2. We then quantified fatty acid methyl esters from new seed for each of the transgenic lines using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Again the results did not show any change in oil content when compared to non-transgenic or empty vector control plants.


Soybean farmers can benefit from a diversified oil profile due to both potential health implications and industrial applications.

For more information about this research project, please visit the National Soybean Checkoff Research Database.

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.