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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Columbia, Missouri » Plant Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #424526

Research Project: Modification of Soybeans for Food, Feed, and Industrial Applications

Location: Plant Genetics Research

Project Number: 5070-21000-036-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 26, 2013
End Date: Mar 25, 2018

The team objective is design and development of soybean seeds with modified-composition that can be used in both new agronomic applications and improved/modified/specialized versions of traditional applications. The multidisciplinary experimental plan incorporates strategies from genomics, systems biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and breeding. Progress from each of the single objectives will be constantly monitored to see if changes in experimental strategies are warranted. Objective 1: Verify and integrate proteomic changes, differentially expressed proteins, metabolic footprints, and ionomic profiles of soybean seed development, and combine with genomics to develop novel strategies for seed improvement. Objective 2: Develop novel strategies to produce increased S-containing amino acids and decreased anti-nutritional factors in soybean seeds, determine interactions among traits, and create soybean germplasm with increasing levels of these amino acids and reducing levels of anti-nutritional factors. Objective 3: Determine source and combinations of alleles in the soybean germplasm collection that can be used to contribute positive influence on soybean oil and meal components to improve concentration and quality. Objective 4: Determine the role of environmental stress on soybean seed growth and quality traits, and develop novel strategies to produce seeds containing increased oil and protein concentration with enhanced quality.

Develop an interactive, knowledge-based quantitative systems description of soybean seed development using computational analyses of data from targeted-proteomic analyses, transcript profiling, metabolomic profiling, and ionomic studies. To utilize the systems model to determining the step(s) that are limiting oil production and accumulation, and provide a basis for increasing oil levels without decreasing proteins levels, as well as decreasing levels of anti-nutritional compounds and increasing protein quality. The model will also provide insight into the system response to perturbation. This will help with the design of potential changes that will likely require a coordinated multi-level approach. To improve the nutritional quality of soybean seed meal. A two-pronged approach, including metabolic engineering of S assimilatory pathway genes plus expression of genes encoding S-rich proteins will be used to design soybean with elevated S amino acid content. Additionally, elimination of Kunitz trypsin inhibitor (KTI), an anti-nutritional component of soybean meal, will be accomplished using a RNA interference (RNAi) approach. To develop soybean germplasm with improved oil and meal quality traits a combination of reverse-genetics, forward genetics, genomics, and breeding, will be employed. The main focus is on development of reverse genetic resources for improving oil and meal quality by discovery of candidates for modification of oil quality including alleles, from both induced and natural sources, encoding proteins involved in FA biosynthesis, TAG biosynthesis, and TAG packaging/storage in oil bodies. To develop and characterize value-added soybean germplasm with improved seed quality and enhanced germination efficiency will be approached by screening plant introduction lines with tolerance to supra-optimal temperatures during seed development and used to determine the underlying genetic bases. Similarly, lines with enhanced germination at sub-optimal soil temperatures will be identified by screening of germplasm resources. Sexual crosses to high yielding commercial cultivars and seed compositional alterations will be performed and analysis of the resulting populations will be used to map and evaluate the ability of these traits to compensate for abiotic stress-sensitivity.