High Protein Low Starch QQS Soybeans for Enhanced Value

Iowa State University Research Foundation
posted on 02/28/2011

Iowa State University researchers have identified a gene called QQS that can lead to the development of high protein soybeans and other crops.

Suggested Uses

Agricultural Biotechnology


  • Large single gene effect
  • Enables development of high protein soybeans and other crops
  • QQS gene is a native plant gene

Innovation Details

Detailed Description

Biochemical components such as starch, oil, and protein content can be important determinants of a crop’s value. Increasing the nutritional value of crop plants by developing high protein varieties has been a goal of plant breeders. In soybeans, protein content accounts for the majority of their compositional value. It has been argued that low protein soybeans are costing the soybean industry as a whole due to discounted pricing for U.S. soybeans, which are comparatively low-protein, on the world market. Recent poultry feeding studies (Baker et al. in Poultry Science 90: 390-395, 2011) showed that soybean meal produced from high protein or low oligosaccharide soybeans could be fed in smaller amounts to chickens since they have a greater nutritional value than soybean meal produced from conventional varieties of soybeans.
As part of an ongoing research effort to understand the regulation of composition in plants, ISU researchers developed transgenic soybean lines carrying the Arabidopsis QQS gene, whose over-expression leads to significantly increased protein content and decreased starch in mature soybean seeds. Consequently, the QQS gene may have utility for creating elite soybean lines with enhanced value for end-user applications such as poultry and livestock feed. This technology may also enable the development of other high protein crops, such as rice or corn.

File Number: ISURF #3844 

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Dario Valenzuela Dario Valenzuela

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