Project Details:

Title:
Re-Engineering the Soybean Flower to Capture Hybrid Vigor (1920-152-0131-D)

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:United Soybean Board
Categories:Breeding & genetics, Sustainability
Organization Project Code:1920-152-0131-D
Project Year:2019
Lead Principal Investigator:Blake Meyers (Donald Danforth Plant Science Center)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Keywords: Bees, hybrid, male sterility, pollination

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

Hybrid vigor, the phenomenon in which offspring outperform both of their parents, is used to sustainably boost crop yields. Soybean is a self-fertilizing plant that is unable to capture the benefits of hybrid breeding. We will use a biotechnology approach to make a few key alterations to the soybean flower that will transform soybean from an inbred into a hybrid crop. Ultimately, these changes will help soybean growers produce 10-20% more soybean on the same amount of land, providing a sustainable solution for meeting the increasing demands of a growing world population.

Project Objectives


Project Deliverables

The deliverables include the generation of lines that will contribute to the delivery of a hybrid seed production system for soybean. Seeds for these lines will be made publicly available to the research community. In addition, we anticipate that this work will result in at least one high-impact publication.

Progress of Work

Updated January 12, 2021:
March 15, 2020 Report
Hybrid vigor, the phenomenon in which offspring outperform both of their parents, is used to sustainably boost crop yields. Soybean is a self-fertilizing plant that is unable to capture the benefits of hybrid breeding. We will use a biotechnology approach to make a few key alterations to the soybean flower that will transform soybean from an inbred into a hybrid crop. Ultimately, these changes will help soybean growers produce 10-20% more soybean on the same amount of land, providing a sustainable solution for meeting the increasing demands of a growing world population. We are working on a two-step modification to the soybean flower, which will allow us to: (1) transform soybean from an inbreeding to a uni-generational, obligate outcrossing crop; and (2) re-engineer soybean flowers with key visual and biochemical traits that attract pollinators.

First, we will block self-fertilization by engineering single-generation male sterility into soybean using a system called Barnase/Barstar. The second step of our hybrid seed production strategy involves modifying the soybean flower so that it is attractive to bee pollinators. We have identified candidate genes that control each of these traits in soybean. We will focus on enhancing the function of these genes in soybean - in essence transforming the soybean flower from a small, self-pollinating system, into a bee-pollinated crop.

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

If successful, it could pave the way to develop hybrid soybean for growers. This would likely take additional breeding steps and perhaps development of newer technologies.

Performance Metrics

Project Years