Learning from soybean elders

By Peter Kent

DNA profile of soybeanOlder varieties of soybeans may hold the answer to how new varieties can ward off stress from disease and pests, especially the parasitic soybean cyst nematode.

Plant scientist Halina Knap is exploring the little-understood mechanism used by some ancestral soybean varieties to sense the presence of the nematodes and produce a natural defense.

Identifying the genes and pathways used by older varieties can lead to development of resistant modern soybean varieties. This can reduce the need for chemical controls, protect the environment and reduce growers’ costs.

Soybeans are a major row crop in the U.S., valued at more than $27 billion. The soybean cyst nematode causes crop losses of $500 million each year.

For information: Halina Knap, 864-656-3523, hskrpsk@clemson.edu