Genetic diversity in crop improvement: The soybean experience

Clay H. Sneller, Randall L. Nelson, T. E. Carter, Zhanglin Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The use of genetic diversity to form modern crops is one of the most remarkable accomplishments of agriculture. Even in the age of genomics, genetic diversity remains the cornerstone of crop improvement. There is extensive diversity in soybean and its ancestors. Much of this diversity has been collected though opportunities to extend collections remain. Genetic diversity has been used extensively in Asian breeding but utilization of exotic germplasm has been limited in North America. Capturing the value of diversity is easy for some traits but quite difficult for other traits, such as yield. New procedures and technology may greatly facilitate understanding and effective use of these exotic yield alleles. For the foreseeable future though, progress in capturing yield value from exotic germplasm through traditional breeding will continue to outstrip our scientific understanding of the alleles themselves. Public institutions will need to facilitate access to germplasm to increase utilization of diversity so it favorably impacts humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-144
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Crop Improvement
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 8 2005


  • Breeding
  • Exotic germplasm
  • Genetic diversity
  • Germplasm collections
  • QTL
  • Soybean
  • Yield improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic diversity in crop improvement: The soybean experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this