2017 Volume 67 Issue 3 Pages 221-232
The maturity date of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) is sensitive to photoperiod, which varies with latitude and growing seasons. The maturity group (MG) system, composed of 13 MGs, is a major approach in characterizing varieties’ ecological properties and adaptable areas. A total of 512 world soybean varieties, including 48 MG checks, were tested at a major site (Nanjing, 32.04°N) with portions tested in supplementary sites (Heihe, 50.22°N; Mudanjiang, 44.60°N; Jining, 35.38°N and Nanning, 22.84°N) in China to explore the worldwide MG distribution. The maturity date of the world soybean varied greatly (75–201 d) in Nanjing. Along with soybeans disseminated to new areas, the MGs further expanded during the last 70 years from MG I–VII to the early MG 0–000 in the north continents and to the late MG VIII–X in the south continents with the growth period structure differentiated into two subgroups in each MG 0–VIII except V. The cluster analysis among MGs and subgroups using genome-wide markers validated the MG sequential emergence order and the subgroup differentiation in eight MGs. For future evaluation, in addition to one major site (Nanjing), one supplementary southern site (Nanning) and one supplementary northern site (Heihe) are sufficient.