Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Find an Effective Insertional Mutagen for Soybean

October 14, 2011

Identification of genes responsible for key soybean traits such as nitrogen fixation and seed quality could be possible by stimulating mutation through insertion of bases. The relatively low efficiency of transformation in soybean requires the use of a transposon-tagging strategy wherein a single transformation event will lead to several mutations over a number of generations. However, the tools used in legumes are limited because of the need for tissue culture activation.

Scientist Wayne Parrott from the University of Georgia, and colleagues transferred a transposon from rice to soybean, together with (mPing)  the other genes needed for its transportation. Soybean plants with stable transformation were then tested for mPing transposition. It was observed that transposition was developmentally regulated. Transgenic lines with heritable mPing insertions were identified, with the plants from the highest activity line producing at least one new insertion per generation. Further analysis of the insertion sites revealed that the features present in rice were maintained including transposition to unlinked sites and preference for insertion in specific location of a gene. Therefore, mPing is an effective tool in transposon-tagging strategy for soybean.

The open-access article is available at