Researchers in China have developed a high-quality genome map of diverse soyabean varieties, which could help improve breeding and cultivation of the oilseed, Xinhua Net reported on 18 June.

In-depth resequencing and structural analysis on 2,898 soyabean accessions from around the world was carried out by researchers from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The research involved the selection of 26 representative soyabeans, including three wild soyabeans, nine farm varieties and 14 modern cultivated varieties.

Researchers then assembled and annotated the genomes of the 26 soyabeans and constructed a high-quality graph-based soyabean pangenome, which contained almost all the genetic information of soyabeans including the unique gene structure variation of some important varieties.

The information gathered could help analyse the regulation mechanism of important agronomic traits, Xinhua Net reported, such as the brightness and colour change of soyabean seed coats.

Tian Zhixi, one of the researchers, was quoted by Xinhua Net as saying that the construction of a graph-based soyabean pan-genome offered more comprehensive information on the genome sequence and genetic variation compared with traditional methods that used a single genome to obtain the genetic information of a species.

Genome resources that could represent different soyabeans were key for China’s efforts in the molecular design breeding of soyabeans, according to the research team.