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Scientists Finding Solution to SCN Resistance in Soybeans
USAgNet - 01/17/2019

In some soybean-growing areas, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is overcoming the main source of genetic resistance (PI 88788) used in 95 percent of commercially available SCN-resistant soybean varieties - and negatively impacting yields. So research scientists funded by the soybean checkoff (United Soybean Board and the North Central Soybean Research Program) have been developing new sources of genetic resistance and new SCN resistance management strategies.

This effort includes expanding the use of the Peking source of resistance which is currently used only in about 5 percent of commercial soybean varieties, identifying entirely new sources of SCN resistance and stacking multiple sources of resistance in the same variety. The ultimate goal is to identify alternative resistance genes and gene combinations that, when used in rotation, will reduce SCN population densities and slow selection pressure on SCN to adapt.

"It's clear that SCN populations are shifting," says Melissa Mitchum, nematologist in the Division of Plant Sciences and Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri. "Every 10 years we conduct a statewide survey. Over the past 30 years we've seen a shift to populations that are able to reproduce on PI 88788."

A resistant variety should allow less than 10 percent reproduction of SCN populations. In other words, a resistant variety should stop 90 percent of the SCN in a field from reproducing.

"In the most recent survey, 100 percent of the SCN populations we tested in Missouri had elevated reproduction on PI 88788," she adds. "In fact, a majority of Missouri SCN populations are capable of reproducing at 50 percent or more on PI 88788."

Mitchum explains that researchers are working to solve two problems. "We have growers in some areas - like Missouri, Iowa and Illinois - with high SCN population densities and high aggressiveness on SCN-resistant (PI 88788) varieties. We need to help those growers drive their SCN populations down. We also have growers who haven't been using SCN-resistant varieties, and they need an SCN management strategy so they don't wind up with the first problem."

The good news is: University researchers are discovering, stacking and testing new resistance genes.

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