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Jan 13, 2010

USDA Sequences Soy Genome

The U.S. Department of Agricuture has announced that its scientists are part of a team that has successfully sequenced the majority of the soybean genome. 

Their discoveries examine how this legume converts sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen into protein and oil.  The research, the culmination of 15 years of collaborative work was published on 14 January 2010 in  Nature.

According to Molly Jahn, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, this research is important because, "[s]oybean and other legumes play a critical role in global food security and human health and are used in a wide range of products, from tofu, soy flour, meat substitutes and soy milk to soy oil-based printing ink and biodiesel." The newly discovered genetic information can be used in the future to "produce more beans that contain more protein and oil, better adapt to adverse environmental conditions, or are more resistant to diseases."

Photo credit: JGI, DOE Joint Genome Institute, U.S. Department of Engery, Office of Science, and Roy Kaltschmidt, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

For more see:

Schmutz, Jeremy et al. "Genome sequence of palaeopolyploid soybean," Nature, 463, 178-183 (14 January 2010)

Suszkiw, Jan.  "USDA Scientists, Cooperators Sequence Soy Genome." USDA, Agricultural Research Service, News and Events, 13 Jan. 2010.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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