Agronomy and Horticulture Department


First Advisor

George L. Graef

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agronomy, Under the Supervision of Professor George L. Graef. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2017

Copyright © 2017 Samantha J. McConaughy


Soybeans [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] are processed for their high-quality vegetable oil and protein meal for feed, food, and industrial applications but, because of the high negative correlations between seed protein and oil concentration, it has been difficult to develop soybean lines with concomitant increases in both protein and oil. Previous studies considered only seed protein or oil concentration. This study is unique in that populations were developed using parental lines that differed in their protein, oil, and total carbohydrate concentrations in the mature seed. Two soybean populations were developed using soybean accession PI 547827 with lower total sugars as a common parent, crossed to two different soybean lines with modified protein and oil concentrations. The objectives were to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) related to seed protein, oil, and carbohydrate concentration as well as for individual sugars sucrose, raffinose, and stachyose. For each of the two crosses, F4-derived recombinant inbred lines (RIL) were developed through single seed descent resulting in 526 and 404 RILs, respectively. Genotypes were determined for F4 plants by genotyping-by-sequence (GbS), resulting in 1,650 to 2,850 polymorphic SNPs used for QTL analyses. Populations were grown in an augmented design in two Nebraska and one Puerto Rico environment to evaluate seed composition, yield, and maturity. The QTL analyses identified 23 novel QTL across all seed composition traits, protein, oil, sum(p+o) or carbohydrate concentration, and each of the sugars on 17 different linkage groups. Ninety nine percent of the lines in the high protein cross, and 100% of the lines in the high oil cross exceeded processor targets of 11 pounds of oil per bushel and a soybean meal with greater than 47.5% protein. Correlations between yield and the sum(p+o) were either zero or slightly positive, indicating that it should be possible to identify high-yielding lines with increased seed protein and oil concentration. Populations like these, and the QTL identified here, will be useful in achieving those objectives to provide more value for both the processor and producer.

Advisor: George L. Graef