Trying to map genes in soybeans has been a lot like throwing darts at an unknown target. But new gene mapping research at Southern Illinois University (SIU) should help scientists replace a shotgun approach to mapping with a rifle, according to SIU's David Lightfoot.

"The development of an integrated physical map will provide a highway for isolation of large numbers of soybean genes," he says. "The methods developed will aid many other genetic and biological studies of plant and animal genomes."

The research should help scientists develop better soybean cyst nematode resistance. "The SCN gene is really the most valuable," says Lightfoot. "If we can control that pest we can save 7% of the soybean crop."

(Khalid Meksem, Kimberley Zobrist, et al, Southern Illinois University; Hongbin Zhang, Texas A&M University; Prakash Rao-Arelli, University of Missouri)