How Soybean Is Extremely Agronomically Valuable

2222 WordsDec 10, 20149 Pages
Soybean is extremely agronomically valuable. Soybean seed meal is the most common component of animal feed, is made into edible oil, and has many industrial uses. In 2014, a record estimated 84.2 million acres of soybean were planted in the United States, contributing to over half of the global market (http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/cropmajor.html, from USDA statistics). Interestingly enough, one cultivar makes up greater than ninety percent of the soy grown in the United States [1]. This is indicative of our problem: natural variation in our current soybean market is extremely limited. While that single cultivar does not represent the genetic material available to breeders, it is clear in the literature that the same cultivars are continually used for breeding in programs across the country (the reference cultivar, Williams 82, for example). Sources of variation There are two main sources of new variations in plant breeding. One option is to cross breed modern cultivars with their wild relatives. The other is the introduction of genes from outside species through a process called transformation. Both of these processes can and have been utilized effectively in soybean. However, as previously stated, cross breeding between Glycine max and Glycine soja is difficult due the vastly different morphologies. Another hurdle in this method is subsequently breeding out undesirable soja characteristics that are unavoidably introduced along with the desired ones.
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