Soybean, one of the most important global sources of protein and oil, is now the first legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence. The sequence and its analysis appear in the January 14 edition of the journal Nature. The research team comprised 18 institutions, including the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Purdue University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The DOE, National Science Foundation, USDA and United Soybean Board supported the research.
“The soybean genome’s billion-plus nucleotides afford us a better understanding of the plant’s capacity to turn sunlight, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water, into concentrated energy, protein, and nutrients for human and animal use,” said Anna Palmisano, DOE Associate Director of Science for Biological and Environmental Research. “This opens the door to crop improvements that are sorely needed for energy production, sustainable human and animal food production, and a healthy environmental balance in agriculture worldwide.”