Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 10, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Introduced soybean germplasm provided the initial parents for soybean breeding in the U.S. nearly 70 years ago. These ancestral lines provided resistance to some diseases but within 20 years accessions from the USDA Soybean Germplasm Collection were being used specifically for disease resistance. Enhancing disease resistance continues to be the most extensive use of exotic soybean germplasm in the U.S., but new needs and technology are changing the scope of germplasm utilization. Less than 1% of the exotic germplasm available in the U.S. has been used commercially. This represents a valuable opportunity and a significant challenge for soybean breeding. Based on DNA markers, our research has demonstrated that many accessions within the Collection are genetically distinct from the ancestral lines of U.S. cultivars. We have developed experimental lines from crosses between these exotic germplasm accessions and commercial cultivars that significantly exceed the yield of the domestic parent. We have also developed experimental lines that are derived solely from exotic germplasm that yield nearly as much as the best cultivars but, based on DNA markers, are genetically distinct from those cultivars. Current research to map loci that increase yield will help to determine if exotic germplasm can supply favorable alleles to improve yield that are not present in the commercial gene pool.