Assessing the Genetic Diversity and Vulnerability of Nebraskan Soybean
Sustainable Production
Parent Project:
This is the first year of this project.
Lead Principal Investigator:
David Hyten, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Co-Principal Investigators:
Project Code:
Contributing Organization (Checkoff):
Institution Funded:
Brief Project Summary:
Soybean breeders at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are employing complementary approaches for continuous improvement of soybean genetics. George Graef, Tom Clemente and David Hyten, all in the UNL Agronomy & Horticulture Department, have had their work supported by the Nebraska Soybean Board through the soybean checkoff. The Nebraska Soybean Board has allocated $1.1 million to breeding and genetics research activities. Nebraska is ideal for conducting soybean breeding research because of its strong, extensive field research program, multiple growing environments (high-yield, irrigated environments and non-irrigated production), and significant areas with important environmental stresses like drought and iron-deficiency chlorosis.
Key Beneficiaries:
#Soybean farmers
Unique Keywords:
#breeding & genetics, #genetic diversity , #nebraska soybean, #plant breeding, #seeds, #soybean breeding, #soybean genetics, #university of nebraska-lincoln
Information And Results
Project Summary

Breeding’s main purpose is to increase genetic gain for agronomic traits such as yield but this selection over many breeding cycles will decrease and potentially eliminate genetic diversity. If new diversity is not introduced on a continual basis then a breeding program will no longer have any diversity available to continue breeding. Currently, this diversity is introduced into the Nebraska soybean breeding program by Dr. Graef selecting soybean lines to likely not be related to his current breeding material through coefficient of parentage analysis or 50k marker analysis. Ultimately, this may or may not introduce diverse variation into his program. Without the underlying sequence information, the gene alleles from these lines may or may not be different from his current breeding lines. This project will remove this unknown and allow us to directly evaluate and catalog the genetic diversity within the breeding program and how diverse lines are really impacting the future health of the breeding program. This project will allow us to leverage valuable resources being created such as the project currently underway to resequence the USDA germplasm collection. Through a better understanding of the diversity within the breeding program, how to maintain and even increase the diversity within the breeding program, we will help to ensure that the University of Nebraska breeding program can continue to make genetic gain over the long-term for important agronomic traits for Nebraskan soybean producers.

Project Objectives

Objective 1: Identify regions of low sequence or haplotype diversity in the breeding program and identify potential germplasm from the USDA germplasm collection that could be used to decrease this vulnerability of low diversity.
Objective 2: Identify genomic regions of positive selection in the UNL breeding program that need to be maintained while incorporating diverse germplasm.

Project Deliverables

Research findings and potential intellectual property developed from the proposed research will be disseminated to the Nebraska Soybean Board through electronic reports or through presentations. Pending patent filings, if necessary, results generated from these studies will be made available to the public through presentations at national and international meetings and by publication in refereed scientific journals.

Progress Of Work

Final Project Results

Updated May 26, 2023:

View uploaded report PDF file

Maintaining genetic diversity within a breeding program is key for long-term genetic improvement of soybean in Nebraska. This project will build the foundation for understanding the genetic diversity present in the current Nebraska germplasm. Genetic gain and yield potential are directly related to the genetic variability present in the population. So our ability to identify novel diversity that can complement the adapted elite background can be used for future improvement to ensure the long-term success of the Nebraska soybean breeding program.

Benefit To Soybean Farmers

Genetic diversity is key to continued genetic gains from breeding for agronomic traits such as yield. The selection done during breeding will eventually eliminate genetic diversity over time. If diverse breeding lines are not continually introduced into a breeding program then genetic gains from breeding will eventually plateau. To help ensure the long-term success of Nebraskan soybean genetics, this project will make a detailed evaluation of genetic diversity in the breeding program.
- This project will catalog all genetic diversity currently contained within the breeding program and identify regions of the
genome that have low diversity.
- It will identify germplasm from the USDA germplasm collection that can be prioritized to be used to introduced new diversity into the program
- It will identify regions important for local adaptation so that they can be maintained while introducing diverse
germplasm increases the chance of successfully increasing the diversity withing the program.

The United Soybean Research Retention policy will display final reports with the project once completed but working files will be purged after three years. And financial information after seven years. All pertinent information is in the final report or if you want more information, please contact the project lead at your state soybean organization or principal investigator listed on the project.