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Soybean Research Produces New Varieties

October 09, 2006

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Dr. Khalid Meksem, SIUC crop researcher for the College of Agricultural Sciences, received a three-year grant to study "mutant plants." Meksem studies the plants in order to identify desirable genetic traits, single them out, and then bred plants to include the genetic changes. The grant should once again place SIUC at the forefront of soybean geneomic research. Meksem and his colleagues will store both the genetic profiles and mutant seeds to be used by scientists worldwide.

Meksem plans to use a new technique called "TILLING" (targeting induced local lesions in genomes) to produce the profiles. Today's technology allows researchers using this method to zero-in on the mutation's exact location in a gene. As a result, scientists can more easily determine what the targeted genes do, making it easier to select desired traits when producing new varieties. Meksem anticipates that this process will generate approximately 15-30 new variants. Read the press release below to learn more about the research process.