2019 Volume 69 Issue 3 Pages 521-528
In Hokkaido, the northernmost region of Japan, soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] crops are damaged by cold weather. Chilling temperatures negatively affect seed appearance by causing seed coat discoloration around the hilum region, which is called cold-induced discoloration (CD). An assay for CD tolerance using a phytotron was developed, and two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with CD tolerance were identified. The major QTL was located in the proximal region of the I locus, and structural variation of this locus can serve as a useful DNA marker, called the Ic marker. To use this marker in breeding programs, the effects need to be assessed under field conditions because the Ic marker has been developed solely under phytotron conditions. The aim of this study was thus to assess the effect of the Ic marker under a cool field environment. We confirmed that the Ic allele was highly effective using 27 cultivars and breeding lines including a near-isogenic line grown in the field where severe cold-weather damage occurred. This allele had no negative influence on the agronomic traits in the near-isogenic line. Our results suggest that marker-assisted selection for the Ic allele is effective for improving CD tolerance in breeding programs.