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Rex T Nelson

Computational Biologist

Corn Insect & Crop Genetics Research Unit

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Rex Nelson
Research Geneticist
716 Farmhouse Lane
G329 Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011-4014
515-294-9359 (Fax)



Research InterestsSoybean biology and ontology to support data management at SoyBase Database. Data retrieval and processing to support SoyBase soybean molecular biology visualization tools that soybean researchers use to develop testable hypotheses for crop improvement.

Aims: To accumulate soybean molecular and phenotypic data to facilitate soybean research and genetic improvement activities of U.S. scientists and breeders.  Make SoyBase Database a platform that can be used by researchers in other legume crops through ontology and web services development.

Background: The U.S. and world population is expected to increase in the future.  At the same time agricultural acreage is expected to remain approximately constant, thus there is a need to increase the rate of production of current world crops including soybean.  Concomitantly, the amount of data generated by scientists world-wide is increasing rapidly. In order for these data to be efficiently utilized, it must be identified and presented in an integrated way to scientists in order for them to form hypotheses or breeding strategies for crop improvement.  To further increase the rate of general crop improvement, information and discoveries in one crop will need to be extrapolated to other similar crop species.  Thus, it will be necessary to utilize sequence information and ontologies as a tool to leverage information gained in one crop species to another.

Approach: SoyBase Database focuses on the accumulation and integration of sequence, genetic and phenotypic data about soybean from soybean researchers world-wide.  These data are then processed, metadata about the data is assigned and the data is integrated into SoyBase Database.  These data are then delivered to soybean researchers in a concise way that presents both genetic, sequence and phenotypic data in an integrated report to support U.S. soybean research and genetic improvement.

Outcomes:  SoyBase is used by U.S. and foreign scientists and breeders to improve soybean varieties and increase crop yield.  In addition, SoyBase Database is used by scientists to understand physiologic and genetic adaptations of soybean to changes in the environment.