Database Research Summaries
2018 Utilizing Genes from the Soybean Germplasm Collection to Mitigate Drought Stress

calendar_today Year of Research: 2018
update Posted On: 12/05/2019
group Larry C Purcell (Principal Investigator, University of Arkansas), Felix Fritschi (Co-Investigator, University of Missouri), Jeffrey Ray (Co-Investigator, USDA/ARS-Soybean Molecular Genetics Lab), Rusty Smith (Co-Investigator, USDA/ARS-University of Illinois), Hussein Abdel-Haleem (Co-Investigator, USDA-ARS), Jason Gillman (Co-Investigator, USDA-ARS)
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Research Focus

The focus of this project is to evaluate the utility of these molecular markers in improving drought tolerance, determine the stability of these traits across extremely different environments, and pyramid favorable genes for each trait as well as stack these traits into improved germplasm lines for release.


  • Physiological Mechanisms of drought tolerance. Determine trait stability over multiple environments in well-watered and rain-fed/dryland conditions and dissect mechanisms underlying the target traits.
  • Identification and confirmation of putative drought tolerance loci. Confirm the potential of drought tolerance/trait markers previously identified by GWAS. Map and confirm putative QTLs in specific bi-parental mapping populations.
  • Germplasm and population development. Develop and evaluate germplasm with multiple traits (stacking CW, CT, WUE, and NDFA) and/or multiple genomic loci for each trait (pyramid loci).


  1. We have selected the 10 genotypes to understand the physiological mechanisms of drought tolerance with regards to C13 to C12 ratio (C13), canopy temperature (CT), canopy wilting (CW), and nitrogen derived from the atmosphere (NDFA, or N2 fixation). This experiment will evaluate the best and worst for each of four traits (CW, CT, C13, NDFA) plus a combination of all four of these traits for the best and the worst. These genotypes were selected based on the phenotypic data and genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV). Along with these 10 genotypes, we will use four checks including PI416937 (slow wilting), A5959 (fast wilting), KS4895 (MG 4 cultivar), and Lee non-nod (non-nodulating check). This experiment will be conducted at two locations, Fayetteville, AR and Columbia MO. Seeds for these 10 genotypes have been cleaned and treated.
  2. We have selected 20 of the best genotypes for crossing with agronomically sound [AS], high yielding MG 4 common parent. Four genotypes are best for each of our traits (CW, CT, C13, NDFA) plus four genotypes are best for a combination of all four of these traits. Two of the four genotypes for each trait are selected based upon a combination of phenotypes plus genomic estimated breeding values (GEBV); two of four genotypes for each trait are selected based only upon GEBV. These crosses will be made at two locations, Columbia, MO and Stoneville, MS. We have cleaned and treated the seeds for these genotypes and in process of packaging to send to our different locations.


The results of this research will both shed light on the physiological mechanisms of drought tolerance and produce germplasm with improved drought tolerance for incorporation into commercial breeding programs.

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

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.