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Birth of a New Variety

soybeans

Developing a soybean variety requires about 7 – 9 years, from the time that initial crosses are made between parent lines until a new variety is commercially available to the grower.  A lot of things happen during that time period in order to make that new variety a reality.  I am going to attempt to describe here some of what goes on during that time period, hopefully without getting too bogged down in technical details.  (For those of you wanting more information on soybean breeding, I would be happy to provide you with more details or refer you to textbook volumes of very interesting bedtime reading!)

You can break down soybean breeding activities into four broad tasks:

  1. Choice of parental germplasm.
  2. Genetic recombination of the parents to create a breeding population.
  3. Selection among the individuals or lines from that population.
  4. Purification and increase of the best line to form a variety.

There are as many ways of performing each of these tasks as there are soybean breeders.  And of course every one of them thinks their own way of doing it is the best.  With that in mind, I will explain in general terms one common way in which Galena Genetics goes about these activities.  This is not the only way we go about breeding new varieties.  But it is a fairly simple and straight forward approach to understand some of the basic principles.

Next: Choice of Parental Germplasm