Soybean aphids have hit hard in dry areas of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Many growers are opting to spray. In the future, aphids may be minor problem if soybean varieties resistant to aphids are available. Researchers at the University of Illinois recently announced that they have identified commercial varieties with effective resistance to soybean aphids.
The researchers identified a single-gene source of aphid resistance that can be easily crossed into elite commercial varieties. Growers may be able to buy varieties with aphid resistance within three to four years, according to Glen Hartman, plant pathologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service at the university.
The researchers spent three years looking for aphid resistance. They searched through 100 cultivars used to develop virtually all of today’s soybean varieties. Among these cultivars, two were resistant to aphids. The cultivars are old varieties called Jackson and Dowling and are grown in the South. The researchers also developed methods for identifying and breeding resistant plants using marker-assisted selection.
The university’s Office of Technology Management has applied for a patent and plans to license the technology to university and industry breeders soon. For more information, visit www.otm.uiuc.edu/techs/techdetail.asp?id=267.