Gene expression profiling of the green seed problem in Soybean

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2016-02-01

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Background: Due to the climate change of the past few decades, some agricultural areas in the world are now experiencing new climatic extremes. For soybean, high temperatures and drought stress can potentially lead to the green seed problem, which is characterized by chlorophyll retention in mature seeds and is associated with lower oil and seed quality, thus negatively impacting the production of soybean seeds. Results: Here we show that heat and drought stress result in a mild stay-green phenotype and impaired expression of the STAY-GREEN 1 and STAY-GREEN 2 (D1, D2), PHEOPHORBIDASE 2 (PPH2) and NON-YELLOW COLORING 1 (NYC1_1) genes in soybean seeds of a susceptible soybean cultivar. We suggest that the higher expression of these genes in fully mature seeds of a tolerant cultivar allows these seeds to cope with stressful conditions and complete chlorophyll degradation. Conclusions: The gene expression results obtained in this study represent a significant advance in understanding chlorophyll retention in mature soybean seeds produced under stressful conditions. This will open new research possibilities towards finding molecular markers for breeding programs to produce cultivars which are less susceptible to chlorophyll retention under the hot and dry climate conditions which are increasingly common in the largest soybean production areas of the world.

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BMC Plant Biology, v. 16, n. 1, 2016.

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