Search narrowed on parasite that destroys soybean yields
If undiagnosed, the lower yields may be misinterpreted by the farmer as a nutrient management problem. Thus, many farmers apply more fertilizers the subsequent year, for the wrong reason, that can lead to even lower profit margins due to the continued yield reduction.
No method currently used effectively controls RKN. Crop rotation is a typical technique, but with incomplete results because RKN can live for a long time and can infect an enormous variety of plants. Nematicides are another intervention, but are dangerous to the respiratory systems of animals. Biological control is practiced in some cropping systems, with two organisms showing only limited success. Clearly the most efficient method of control is by using resistant cultivars, said Nguyen.
Nguyen said next-generation sequencing technology is a new and important tool for plant scientists.
Currently, scientists use single nucleotide polymorphisms to map genetic markers to determine what genes are responsible for important traits, such as disease resistance. That process, said Nguyen, is too slow considering the tens of thousands of genes that have to be surveyed.
To speed up the process, Nguyen’s team used next-generation sequencing technology to sequence the whole genome of more than 200 soybean inbred lines. Another advantage of using this method is that the mapping resolution can be significantly improved – the genes can be narrowed down to a very small chromosome region quickly, Tri Vuong, MU research scientist, added.