Plant Science Innovation, Center for


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Date of this Version



Mol Breeding (2021) 41: 3.


This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US


The uses of vegetable oils are determined by functional properties arising from their chemical composition. Soybean oil was previously used in margarines and baked foods after partial hydrogenation to achieve heat and oxidative stability. This process, however, generates trans fats that are now excluded from food use because of cardiovascular health risks. Also present in soybean oil are the anti-oxidant tocopherols, with α- tocopherol (vitamin E) typically present as a minor component compared to γ-tocopherol. Genetic improvement of the fatty acid profile and tocopherol profile is an attractive solution to increase the functional and health qualities of soybean oil. The objective of this research was to develop resources to directly select with molecular markers for the elevated vitamin E trait in soybean oil and to use a molecular breeding approach to combine elevated vitamin E with the high oleic/low linolenic acid seed oil trait that improves oil functionality and nutrition. New soybean germplasm was developed from the molecular breeding strategy that selected for alleles of six targeted genes. Seed oil from the novel soybean germplasm was confirmed to contain increased vitamin E α-tocopherol along with a high oleic acid/low linolenic acid profile.