Australian vine can boost soybean yield

April 7, 2018 |

In Illinois, a new study from the University of Illinois shows that the unobtrusive perennial vine native to Australia, called Glycine tomentella, could hold the key to substantially increase soybean yields.

“We saw yield increases of 3.5 to 7 bushels per acre in soybean lines derived from crossing with Glycine tomentella,” said Randall Nelson, study author and adjunct professor in the Department of Crop Sciences at U of I.

The discovery happened by accident. Researchers from U of I and the USDA Agricultural Research Service had been working for years to introduce disease-resistance genes from Glycine tomentella into soybean. After developing thousands of experimental lines, they finally managed to move genes from the Australian vine into a new soybean line that was resistant to soybean rust. But the researchers noticed something else.

Nelson said, “We were very surprised. To look at it, Glycine tomentella has no agronomic characteristics — the seeds are less than a tenth the size of soybean seeds. We never expected to get high-yielding lines out of this cross.”

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Category: Research

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