Dr. Valliyodan speaks at 6th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics.

soybean field

From October 2-7, 2012, legume researchers congregated in Hyderabad, India, a country famed for its legume dishes, for the 6th International Conference on Legume Genetics and Genomics. During this conference, scientists met to share their new innovations in the field while continuing to improve legume cultivation worldwide.

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research organized the conference, which attracted more than 500 participants from 44 countries.

Topics of discussion covered all areas of legume science: next-generation genomics, legume symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, evolution and diversity, harnessing germplasm resources, abiotic stress responses, pathogenesis and disease resistance, genomic resources and trait mapping, genomics-assisted breeding, nutrition and quality, and translational genomics.

Dr. Babu Valliyodan, a senior research scientist with the University of Missouri’s Molecular Genetics and Soybean Genomics Lab, attended the conference. On October 4th, he delivered a presentation as part of a series of discussions on abiotic stress. His talk was titled “Exploitation of root system architecture and plasticity for improving drought resistance in grain legumes.”

Drought is one of the major climatic conditions affecting crop yield and stability, and root systems are vital to crop productivity and adaptation in water-limited environments. Dr. Valliyodan explained to attendees how the Molecular Genetics and Soybean Genomics Lab is focusing on achieving increased water capture and use efficiency in soybean.

Researchers in this same lab have screened and identified soybean lines that exhibit genetic diversity in how their root systems respond to drought stress. They then conducted expression profiling for genes, proteins, and metabolites associated with root system responses under water deficit conditions. The lab’s challenge now is to engineer selected genes through translational genomics and test new transgenic soybean lines to study associated physiological mechanisms.

Dr. Valliyodan’s presentation honed in on the lab’s recent discoveries, sharing knowledge about how beneficial root traits will improve soybean stress response and yield in climates that are increasingly characterized by drought conditions.