Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Theoretical and Applied Genetics 130 (2017), pp. 2315–2326. DOI 10.1007/s00122-017-2961-x


Copyright © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany. Used by permission


Evaluation of seed protein alleles in soybean populations showed that an increase in protein concentration is generally associated with a decrease in oil concentration and yield.

Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill] meal is one of the most important plant-based protein sources in the world. Developing cultivars high in seed protein concentration and seed yield is a difficult task because the traits have an inverse relationship. Over two decades ago, a protein quantitative trait loci (QTL) was mapped on chromosome (chr) 20, and this QTL has been mapped to the same position in several studies and given the confirmed QTL designation cqSeed protein-003. In addition, the wp allele on chr 2, which confers pink flower color, has also been associated with increased protein concentration. The objective of our study was to evaluate the effect of cqSeed protein-003 and the wp locus on seed composition and agronomic traits in elite soybean backgrounds adapted to the Midwestern USA. Segregating populations of isogenic lines were developed to test the wp allele and the chr 20 high protein QTL alleles from Danbaekkong (PI619083) and Glycine soja PI468916 at cqSeed protein-003. An increase in protein concentration and decrease in yield were generally coupled with the high protein alleles at cqSeed protein-003 across populations, whereas the effects of wp on protein concentration and yield were variable. These results not only demonstrate the difficulty in developing cultivars with increased protein and yield but also provide information for breeding programs seeking to improve seed composition and agronomic traits simultaneously.