Center for Soybean Tissue Culture and Genetic Engineering Soybean for effective resistance to soybean cyst;
Wayne Parrott ( University of Georgia) ($371613). The Project Manager's email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Key Words: Soybean Cyst Nematode - Genetic Resistance, Genetically Engineered Soybean, Soybean Bioengineering, Induced Gene Silencing, Soybean Tissue Culture
The USB-funded "Soybean Tissue Culture and Genetic Engineering Center" consists of five laboratories at four universities, and has been working for nearly two decades to develop and improve soybean genetic engineering techniques through the optimization of cell culture methodologies, the design of optimized vectors for gene delivery, and the discovery of new promoters to control gene expression in engineered plants. Because of this work, soybean genetic engineering is now at least 100 times more efficient than it was when the Center was started, to the point that the procedures that we developed are now being used by researchers and companies to engineer soybean for both plant improvement and for basic research studies, such as genomics. Along the way, several soybeans engineered with genes of agronomic interest have been developed by Center members. Of greater significance is the fact that the most recent transgenic soybeans that are reaching the market incorporate Center-developed technology. Two years ago, the Center accepted a new research challenge that makes use of all the technology it has developed, while at the same time addressing one of the greatest limitations to soybean production in the United States, namely, the development of soybean with high levels of resistance to all strains of soybean cyst nematodes, all packaged together in a breeder-friendly manner. Accordingly, the Center teamed up with the USB-funded nematode resistance group, which had been cloning parasitism-related genes from soybean cyst nematode. There are strong indications from the literature that the use of these genes has the ability to provide effective resistance against multiple races of nematodes. The approach uses the new RNA interference (called RNAi for short) technology, whereby a part of the nematode parasitism gene is engineered into plants. In the plant, the nematode gene produces double-stranded RNA (i.e., RNAi). When the nematode starts to feed on the plant, it ingests the plant-produced RNAi, which turns off the corresponding gene in the nematode. Once the parasitism gene is turned off in the plant, the nematode can no longer feed. The nematode dies, and the plant is SCN-resistant. In contrast to efforts with conventional breeding, an engineering approach should result in soybeans that have a high level of durable resistance to a broad spectrum of different cyst nematode strains.
This project is funded by United Soybean Board