Gene could unlock high yield soybeans with increased protein for animal feed

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Leftovers can be quite valuable. For instance, when soybean seed is crushed and the oil extracted, what’s left is called soybean meal. You’ll want to save this leftover.

Soybean meal contains high-quality protein. Globally, close to 98% of soybean meal produced is used in animal feed. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization calls it “the most important and preferred source of high-quality vegetable protein for animal feed.”

But soybean growers face a challenge. It has proved difficult to develop soybean varieties with both high protein levels and high yields. These two characteristics are negatively correlated: when soybean yields are high, protein levels tend to decrease, and vice-versa.

Plant breeder Brian Diers and colleagues addressed this problem in a new study. Their initial results suggest it might be possible to breed soybeans with higher protein concentration without significantly decreasing yields.

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In this study, the researchers tested a gene that increases protein by breeding it into two different varieties of soybean. The results were promising. Plants of both varieties with the high protein gene had increased protein concentration and did not show a significant decrease in yields.

[Editor’s note: Read the full study (behind paywall)]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: High yield, protein with soybean gene

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