Use of diverse germplasm to improve peanut root-knot nematode resistance and seed protein content in soybean
Yates, Jennifer Lynn
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Soybean is a major crop of which the USA is a leading world producer. The demand for soybean and soybean products continues to increase as its health benefits and industrial and food uses become more known; therefore, it is critical to improve soybean qualities of interest both to growers and processors to maintain this competitive edge in the international market. However, soybean cultivars currently grown in the USA have limited genetic diversity, and it is often necessary to explore unadapted germplasm to find novel genes for desirable traits. In this study, diverse germplasm sources from China and Korea were used as a source of genes for two desirable traits, peanut root-knot nematode (RKN) resistance and seed protein content. The resistance genes from three Chinese plant introductions (PIs) were evaluated for uniqueness of resistance genes to the peanut RKN, and the putative genes were identified through gene mapping. The gene identified in two of the three PIs was further found to be associated with peanut RKN resistance in southern soybean cultivars. The effect of a high-protein allele from a Korean cultivar on yield, protein and oil contents, and amino acid composition in three elite U.S. soybean cultivars was also assessed. Consistent effects of the high-protein gene on plant maturity, seed weight, protein and oil contents, and increases in the concentrations of certain amino acids was discovered. However, the effect of the gene on yield was dependent on both the genetic background and the environment. This information aids soybean breeders in allocating their resources for managing emerging pests and in selecting soybean cultivars with improved protein quantity and quality profiles.