Scientists to map the soybean genome

US - Food industry set to benefit from soybean research, as scientists in the US gain funding to map the soybean genome.

A team of researchers led by Purdue University plant geneticist Scott Jackson have received $4.5 million to sequence one of the world's leading edible oil sources.

Used extensively in food formulations and enjoying growing popularity on the back of claimed health benefits, today soybean oil, together with palm oil, accounts for over half of all oil consumed in the world: but production vulnerability means soy prices can fluctuate dramatically.

By mapping the genome, scientists hope knowledge gained can be used to reduce the risk to crop supplies.

”When the whole genome is sequenced, researchers will be able to pick plants based on their genetic makeup that are resistant to such things as drought, sudden death syndrome, soybean rust and other factors that negatively impact soybean production,” say the researchers.

The move to track the soybean genome follows on the heels of the rice and wheat genome.

Earlier this year, the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project completed the sequence for the genome, finding it consists of around 400 million DNA bases, holding 37,544 genes on rice's 12 chromosomes.

And in June this year US scientists at Kansas State University kicked off a new project to sequence the common (hexaploid) wheat genome.

For the soybean research, scientists will locate the genes on the soybean chromosomes in order to create a physical map.

Source: FoodNavigator
calendar icon 24 October 2005
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