Database Research Summaries
Discovering the Functions of Genes that Underlie Major Agricultural Traits in Soybean

calendar_today Year of Research: 2019
update Posted On: 12/06/2019
group Robert Stupar (Project Leader, University of Minnesota) and David Hyten (University of Nebraska - Lincoln)
bookmark North Central Soybean Research Program

Research Focus

The goal of this project is to provide a unique “reverse genetics” platform for the soybean research community.

The project will make available thousands of new soybean mutant lines adapted to the north-central region. The lines will exhibit a wide range of traits including yield, seed composition, disease resistance, nematode and insect resistance, and known responses to water, nutrients, climate, soil, and environmental conditions.


The lines will be available for researchers interested in identifying genes underlying these traits and for breeders interested in using the novel alleles derived from these populations in their breeding programs.

A searchable database is being created where researchers can identify lines that are carrying mutations for any given gene of interest. This would be an unprecedented resource for the soybean research community.


  1. M2 seeds (two generations after the mutagenic treatment) were harvested and planted in the field in 2019.
  2. A set of 52 mutant plants, some with interesting characteristics important to agronomic traits, were selected for whole genome re-sequencing to discover novel mutations.
  3. M3 seed (three generations after the mutagenic treatment) has been successfully harvested and stored from approximately 1150 M2 plants grown during the 2018 field season. To ensure that these genotypes will be available to the scientific community, M3 plants were grown in rows and will be bulk-harvested to produce M4 seed.
  4. Roughly 250 M3 lines belonging to 100 M2 families were also grown in the 2019 season for additional phenotyping (observation of physical characteristics of importance). These lines/families display novel segregation for important traits such as plant height, fertility, and canopy architecture.

2019 NCSRP Annual Report summary


  • This project aims to build a community resource that will enable public- and private-sector breeders to directly investigate the function(s) for any gene of their choosing. This will allow for more efficient breeding with novel traits and discovery of gene functions.
  • Farmers will benefit from this project long-term as it helps soybean breeders develop high-quality soybean varieties with desirable agronomic traits.

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

Funded in part by the soybean checkoff.