New Crop Variety May Save More Soybeans from Parasites

US - Research scientists at Kansas State University have designed and patented a soybean variety that protects from nematode parasitic infestation, which could potentially save the soybean industry millions of dollars per year.
calendar icon 18 October 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

"Basically, we've designed a soybean variety that fights back against parasites," said Harold N. Trick, professor of plant pathology. "It affects nematodes by stopping their reproduction cycles."

The researchers identified genes in nematodes that are necessary to the parasite's function and survival. They then developed a soybean variety that silences those genes.

"We have found a solution that controls nematodes and is more durable and broadly applicable than traditional resistance," said Timothy C. Todd, instructor of plant pathology. "The other really cool thing about this approach is it's specific to the nematode, so no one has to worry about it causing any type of damage beyond stopping the parasite. It's very environmentally friendly."

The researchers' next steps are to continue refining the soybean variety, identify a commercial partner and make the crop variety available to farmers.

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