Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 130, Issue 11, pp 2315–2326 | Cite as

Impact of seed protein alleles from three soybean sources on seed composition and agronomic traits

  • Lillian F. Brzostowski
  • Timothy I. Pruski
  • James E. Specht
  • Brian W. Diers
Original Article


Key message

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.



This research was supported by funding from the United Soybean Board (USB) to BWD and LFB.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Crop SciencesUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Bayer CropScienceWhite HeathUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agronomy and HorticultureUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA

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