A recent donation from Monsanto Company has brought the soybean checkoff another step forward in the development of a higher quality soybean for U.S. soybean farmers.

Monsanto recently announced its intention to provide the United Soybean Board’s (USB) Technology Utilization Center (TUC) with a series of BAC-end sequences for the soybean genome.

Scientists use BAC-end sequences to identify the location of specific genetic markers on chromosomes within a genome. By identifying genetic markers for the desired trait, plant breeders can breed new soybean varieties more efficiently and more accurately.

"This donation is important to the Better Bean Initiative (BBI) since the BAC-end sequence provides a library of genes that should accelerate the research and development of even higher quality soybeans," says Rich Wilson, research leader with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. "The sequence contains a number of gene markers that will help identify those genes that control fatty acid and protein traits in soybeans."

The donation can also help accelerate the BBI’s goal to develop the highest quality soybean for U.S. soy producers, says Don Latham, chairman of the BBI advisory panel and a soybean farmer from Alexander, IA."

The mission of the checkoff-funded BBI is to accelerate the development and availability of soybean seed with enhanced compositional traits. USB works with public and private sector industry partners from the food, feed and seed industries to leverage resources and determine the most efficient way to bring these new soybean seed products to market.

The genetic sequence data will be available only to nonprofit USB BBI participants that are funded through public resources. This will allow future discoveries developed using these sequences to be widely distributed in the public sector and accessible to the soybean research community.

"The development of soybean seed with enhanced traits will better position U.S. soybeans to meet the needs of oil and protein end users and improve the economic value for U.S. soybean farmers," Latham says.