Soybean [Glycine max
(L.) Merr.] is a valuable and nutritious crop in part due to the high protein meal and vegetable oil produced from its seed. Soybean producers desire cultivars with both elevated seed protein and oil concentrations as well as specific amino acid and fatty acid profiles. Numerous studies have identified quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with seed composition traits, but validation of these QTLs has rarely been carried out. In this study, we have collected information, including genetic location and additive effects, on each QTL for seed contents of protein and oil, as well as amino acid and fatty acid compositions from over 80 studies. Using BioMercator V. 4.2, a meta-QTL analysis was performed with genetic information comprised of 175 QTLs for protein, 205 QTLs for oil, 156 QTLs for amino acids, and 113 QTLs for fatty acids. A total of 55 meta-QTL for seed composition were detected on 6 out of 20 chromosomes. Meta-QTL possessed narrower confidence intervals than the original QTL and candidate genes were identified within each meta-QTL. These candidate genes elucidate potential natural genetic variation in genes contributing to protein and oil biosynthesis and accumulation, providing meaningful information to further soybean breeding programs.
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