Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Department of Energy Maps Soybean Genome

The US DOE Joint Genome Institute has completed mapping the soybean genome. Soybeans account for 70% of Earth's edible protein, and a significant amount of biodiesel production. Soy is a nitrogen-fixing legume that grows in many different climatic regions.
DOE JGI’s interest in sequencing the soybean centers on its use for biodiesel, a renewable, alternative fuel with the highest energy content of any alternative fuel. According to 2007 U.S. Census data, soybean is estimated to be responsible for more than 80 percent of biodiesel production.

...“The soybean genome sequence will be a valuable resource for the basic researcher and soybean breeder alike,” said Jim Collins, Assistant Director for the Biology Directorate at the NSF. _Checkbiotech
Plant breeders hope to be able to optimise soybeans to various types of soils and climates, as well as to modify its production for higher yields of desired products -- such as oils or proteins.

The genetic modification of food and energy crops is still at an early stage. The next stage would be taking specific gene sets or stacks from one plant and transferring them to another plant -- to achieve synergistic growth and yield characteristics from the combination.



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