The soybean genome assembly has been available since the end of 2008. Significant features of the genome include large, gene-poor, repeat-dense pericentromeric regions, spanning roughly 57% of the genome sequence; a relatively large genome size of ~1.15 billion bases; remnants of a genome duplication that occurred ~13 million years ago (Mya); and fainter remnants of older polyploidies that occurred ~58 Mya and >130 Mya. The genome sequence has been used to identify the genetic basis for numerous traits, including disease resistance, nutritional characteristics, and developmental features. The genome sequence has provided a scaffold for placement of many genomic feature elements, both from within soybean and from related species. These may be accessed at several websites, including http://www.phytozome.net, http://soybase.org, http://comparative-legumes.org, and http://www.legumebase.brc.miyazaki-u.ac.jp. The taxonomic position of soybean in the Phaseoleae tribe of the legumes means that there are approximately two dozen other beans and relatives that have undergone independent domestication, and which may have traits that will be useful for transfer to soybean. Methods of translating information between species in the Phaseoleae range from design of markers for marker assisted selection, to transformation with Agrobacterium or with other experimental transformation methods.
Since the genome sequences of wild species may provide key information about the genetic elements involved in speciation and domestication, the undomesticated soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. and Zucc.), a wild relative of the current cultivated soybean (G. max), was sequenced. In contrast to the current hypothesis of soybean domestication, which holds that the current cultivated soybean was domesticated from G. soja, our previous work has suggested that soybean was domesticated from the G. soja/G. max complex that diverged from a common ancestor of these two species of Glycine. In this review, many structural genomic differences between the two genomes are described and a total of 705 genes are identified as structural variations (SVs) between G. max and G. soja. After protein families database of alignments and hidden Markov models IDs and gene ontology terms were assigned, many interesting genes are discussed in detail using four domestication related traits, such as flowering time, transcriptional factors, carbon metabolism and disease resistance. Soybean domestication history is explored by studying these SVs in genes. Analysis of SVs in genes at the population-level may clarify the domestication history of soybean.
The objective of the National BioResource Project (NBRP) in Japan is to collect, conserve and distribute biological materials for life sciences research. The project consists of twenty-eight bioresources, including animal, plant, microorganism and DNA resources. NBRP Lotus and Glycine aims to support the development of legume research through the collection, conservation, and distribution of these bioresources. Lotus japonicus is a perennial legume that grows naturally throughout Japan and is widely used as a model plant for legumes because of such advantages as its small genome size and short life cycle. Soybean (Glycine max) has been cultivated as an important crop since ancient times, and numerous research programs have generated a large amount of basic research information and valuable bioresources for this crop. We have also developed a “LegumeBase” a specialized database for the genera Lotus and Glycine, and are maintaining this database as a part of the NBRP. In this paper we will provide an overview of the resources available from the NBRP Lotus and Glycine database site, called “LegumeBase”.
Mutant-based reverse genetics offers a powerful way to create novel mutant alleles at a selected locus. This approach makes it possible to directly identify plants that carry a specific modified gene from the nucleotide sequence data. Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] has a highly redundant paleopolyploid genome (approx. 1.1 Gb), which was completely sequenced in 2010. Using reverse genetics to support functional genomics studies designed to predict gene function would accelerate post-genomics research in soybean. Furthermore, the novel mutant alleles created by this approach would be useful genetic resources for improving various traits in soybean. A reverse genetic screening platform in soybean has been developed that combines more than 40,000 mutant lines with a high-throughput method, Targeting Local Lesions IN Genome (TILLING). In this review, the mutant-based reverse genetic approach based on this platform is described, and the likely evolution of this approach in the near future.
RNA silencing refers collectively to diverse RNA-mediated pathways of nucleotide-sequence-specific inhibition of gene expression. It has been used to analyze gene function and engineer novel traits in various organisms. Here, we review the application of RNA silencing in soybean. To produce soybean lines, in which a particular gene is stably silenced, researchers have frequently used a transgene that transcribes inverted repeats of a target gene segment. Suppression of gene expression in developing soybean embryos has been one of the main focuses of metabolic engineering using transgene-induced silencing. Plants that have enhanced resistance against diseases caused by viruses or cyst nematode have also been produced. Meanwhile, Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation has been used to induce RNA silencing in roots, which enabled analysis of the roles of gene products in nodulation or disease resistance. RNA silencing has also been induced using viral vectors, which is particularly useful for gene function analysis. So far, three viral vectors for virus-induced gene silencing have been developed for soybean. One of the features of the soybean genome is the presence of a large number of duplicated genes. Potential use of RNA silencing technology in combination with forward genetic approaches for analyzing duplicated genes is discussed.
Herbicide-resistant transgenic soybean plants hold a leading market share in the USA and other countries, but soybean has been regarded as recalcitrant to transformation for many years. The cumulative and, at times, exponential advances in genetic manipulation have made possible further choices for soybean transformation. The most widely and routinely used transformation systems are cotyledonary node–Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and somatic embryo–particle-bombardment-mediated transformation. These ready systems enable us to improve seed qualities and agronomic characteristics by transgenic approaches. In addition, with the accumulation of soybean genomic resources, convenient or promising approaches will be requisite for the determination and use of gene function in soybean. In this article, we describe recent advances in and problems of soybean transformation, and survey the current transgenic approaches for applied and basic research in Japan.
“Breeding by Design” as a concept described by Peleman and van der Voort aims to bring together superior alleles for all genes of agronomic importance from potential genetic resources. This might be achievable through high-resolution allele detection based on precise QTL (quantitative trait locus/loci) mapping of potential parental resources. The present paper reviews the works at the Chinese National Center for Soybean Improvement (NCSI) on exploration of QTL and their superior alleles of agronomic traits for genetic dissection of germplasm resources in soybeans towards practicing “Breeding by Design”. Among the major germplasm resources, i.e. released commercial cultivar (RC), farmers’ landrace (LR) and annual wild soybean accession (WS), the RC was recognized as the primary potential adapted parental sources, with a great number of new alleles (45.9%) having emerged and accumulated during the 90 years’ scientific breeding processes. A mapping strategy, i.e. a full model procedure (including additive (A), epistasis (AA), A × environment (E) and AA × E effects), scanning with QTLNetwork2.0 and followed by verification with other procedures, was suggested and used for the experimental data when the underlying genetic model was usually unknown. In total, 110 data sets of 81 agronomically important traits were analyzed for their QTL, with 14.5% of the data sets showing major QTL (contribution rate more than 10.0% for each QTL), 55.5% showing a few major QTL but more small QTL, and 30.0% having only small QTL. In addition to the detected QTL, the collective unmapped minor QTL sometimes accounted for more than 50% of the genetic variation in a number of traits. Integrated with linkage mapping, association mappings were conducted on germplasm populations and validated to be able to provide complete information on multiple QTL and their multiple alleles. Accordingly, the QTL and their alleles of agronomic traits for large samples of RC, LR and WS were identified and then the QTL-allele matrices were established. Based on which the parental materials can be chosen for complementary recombination among loci and alleles to make the crossing plans genetically optimized. This approach has provided a way towards breeding by design, but the accuracy will depend on the precision of the loci and allele matrices.
Phytophthora stem and root rot, caused by Phytophthora sojae, is one of the most destructive diseases of soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], and the incidence of this disease has been increasing in several soybean-producing areas around the world. This presents serious limitations for soybean production, with yield losses from 4 to 100%. The most effective method to reduce damage would be to grow Phytophthora-resistant soybean cultivars, and two types of host resistance have been described. Race-specific resistance conditioned by single dominant Rps (“resistance to Phytophthora sojae”) genes and quantitatively inherited partial resistance conferred by multiple genes could both provide protection from the pathogen. Molecular markers linked to Rps genes or quantitative trait loci (QTLs) underlying partial resistance have been identified on several molecular linkage groups corresponding to chromosomes. These markers can be used to screen for Phytophthora-resistant plants rapidly and efficiently, and to combine multiple resistance genes in the same background. This paper reviews what is currently known about pathogenic races of P. sojae in the USA and Japan, selection of sources of Rps genes or minor genes providing partial resistance, and the current state and future scope of breeding Phytophthora-resistant soybean cultivars.
In soybean seeds, numerous variations in colors and pigmentation patterns exist, most of which are observed in the seed coat. Patterns of seed coat pigmentation are determined by four alleles (I, ii, ik and i) of the classically defined I locus, which controls the spatial distribution of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in the seed coat. Most commercial soybean cultivars produce yellow seeds with yellow cotyledons and nonpigmented seed coats, which are important traits of high-quality seeds. Plants carrying the I or ii allele show complete inhibition of pigmentation in the seed coat or pigmentation only in the hilum, respectively, resulting in a yellow seed phenotype. Classical genetic analyses of the I locus were performed in the 1920s and 1930s but, until recently, the molecular mechanism by which the I locus regulated seed coat pigmentation remained unclear. In this review, we provide an overview of the molecular suppressive mechanism of seed coat pigmentation in yellow soybean, with the main focus on the effect of the I allele. In addition, we discuss seed coat pigmentation phenomena in yellow soybean and their relationship to inhibition of I allele action.
Flowering is one of the most important processes involved in crop adaptation and productivity. A number of major genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flowering have been reported in soybean (Glycine max). These genes and QTLs interact with one another and with the environment to greatly influence not only flowering and maturity but also plant morphology, final yield, and stress tolerance. The information available on the soybean genome sequence and on the molecular bases of flowering in Arabidopsis will undoubtedly facilitate the molecular dissection of flowering in soybean. Here, we review the present status of our understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of flowering in soybean. We also discuss our identification of orthologs of Arabidopsis flowering genes from among the 46,367 genes annotated in the publicly available soybean genome database Phytozome Glyma 1.0. We emphasize the usefulness of a combined approach including QTL analysis, fine mapping, and use of candidate gene information from model plant species in genetic and molecular studies of soybean flowering.
It has long been known that formation of symbiotic root nodules in soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) is controlled by several host genes referred to as Rj (rj) genes, but molecular cloning of these genes has been hampered by soybean’s complicated genome structure and large genome size. Progress in molecular identification of legume genes involved in root nodule symbiosis have been mostly achieved by using two model legumes, Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula, that have relatively simple and small genomes and are capable of molecular transfection. However, recent development of resources for soybean molecular genetic research, such as genome sequencing, large EST databases, and high-density linkage maps, have enabled us to isolate several Rj genes. This progress has been achieved in connection with systematic utilization of the information obtained from molecular genetics of the model legumes. In this review, we summarize the current status of knowledge of host-controlled nodulation in soybean based on information from recent studies on Rj genes, and discuss the future research prospects.
While the cultivated soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., is more recalcitrant to pod dehiscence (shattering-resistant) than wild soybean, Glycine soja Sieb. & Zucc., there is also significant genetic variation in shattering resistance among cultivated soybean cultivars. To reveal the genetic basis and develop DNA markers for pod dehiscence, several research groups have conducted quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis using segregated populations derived from crosses between G. max accessions or between a G. max and G. soja accession. In the populations of G. max, a major QTL was repeatedly identified near SSR marker Sat_366 on linkage group J (chromosome 16). Minor QTLs were also detected in several studies, although less commonality was found for the magnitudes of effect and location. In G. max × G. soja populations, only QTLs with a relatively small effect were detected. The major QTL found in G. max was further fine-mapped, leading to the development of specific markers for the shattering resistance allele at this locus. The markers were used in a breeding program, resulting in the production of near-isogenic lines with shattering resistance and genetic backgrounds of Japanese elite cultivars. The markers and lines developed will hopefully contribute to the rapid production of a variety of shattering-resistant soybean cultivars.
Salt-affected soils are generally classified into two main categories: saline and sodic (alkaline). Developing and using soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr) cultivars with high salt tolerance is an effective way of maintaining sustainable production in areas where soybean growth is threatened by salt stress. Early classical genetics studies revealed that saline tolerance was conditioned by a single dominant gene. Recently, a series of studies consistently revealed a major quantitative trait locus (QTL) for saline tolerance located on linkage group N (chromosome 3) around the SSR markers Satt255 and Sat_091; other minor QTLs were also reported. In the case of sodic tolerance, most studies focused on iron deficiency caused by a high soil pH, and several QTLs associated with iron deficiency were identified. A wild soybean (Glycine soja Sieb. & Zucc.) accession with high sodic tolerance was recently identified, and a significant QTL for sodic tolerance was detected on linkage group D2 (chromosome 17). These studies demonstrated that saline and sodic tolerances were controlled by different genes in soybean. DNA markers closely associated with these QTLs can be used for marker-assisted selection to pyramid tolerance genes in soybean for both saline and sodic stresses.
Genetic variation and population structure among 1603 soybean accessions, consisted of 832 Japanese landraces, 109 old and 57 recent Japanese varieties, 341 landrace from 16 Asian countries and 264 wild soybean accessions, were characterized using 191 SNP markers. Although gene diversity of Japanese soybean germplasm was slight lower than that of exotic soybean germplasm, population differentiation and clustering analyses indicated clear genetic differentiation among Japanese cultivated soybeans, exotic cultivated soybeans and wild soybeans. Nine hundred ninety eight Japanese accessions were separated to a certain extent into groups corresponding to their agro-morphologic characteristics such as photosensitivity and seed characteristics rather than their geographical origin. Based on the assessment of the SNP markers and several agro-morphologic traits, accessions that retain gene diversity of the whole collection were selected to develop several soybean sets of different sizes using an heuristic approach; a minimum of 12 accessions can represent the observed gene diversity; a mini-core collection of 96 accession can represent a major proportion of both geographic origin and agro-morphologic trait variation. These selected sets of germplasm will provide an effective platform for enhancing soybean diversity studies and assist in finding novel traits for crop improvement.
Black soybean landraces that had been cultivated in Tanba region and the neighboring regions and conserved black soybean landraces, including those from other regions in Japan, were used in this study. The polymorphisms of 78 SSR markers in nuclear DNA and 6 SSRs in chloroplast DNA were analyzed in the black soybean landrace populations. The result of phylogenic analysis revealed that the black soybeans can be classified into six clades. The landraces originating from Tanba region were classed into first and second clades, and two chloroplast genotypes were found in the population of black soybeans from the Tanba region. Genotype A chloroplast was predominantly identified in major populations of the Tanba, while genotype B was widely distributed in the black soybean population. Population structure analysis in the Japanese black soybean accessions inferred there are six groups. The black soybean landrace from the Tanba region was classified into three groups, mainly corresponding to the distance-based phylogenic results. The two groups were probably derived from different ancestors with Type A and B chloroplast genomes, respectively, whereas the other group showed both types of chloroplast genome. The admixture situations suggested that the landraces in the main group have been widely cultivated in Tanba region, while the landraces that belong to other groups were cultivated in localized area. Several phenotypes were compared among genotype groups, dividing into two sub-groups: founder sub-group and admixed sub-group. Phenotypic differences were observed between founder landraces in group 1 and group 3. On the other hand, landraces in admixture landraces in group 1 and group 2 segregated for several traits, while founder landraces in group 1 were stabled for each trait. These observations suggest that gene flow events have occurred between different founder landraces.
Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) (Heterodera glycines Ichinohe) is one of the most damaging pests of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). Host plant resistance has been the most effective control method. Because of the spread of multiple SCN races in Hokkaido, the Tokachi Agricultural Experiment Station has bred soybeans for SCN resistance since 1953 by using 2 main resistance resources PI84751 (resistant to races 1 and 3) and Gedenshirazu (resistant to race 3). In this study, we investigated the genetic relationships of SCN resistance originating from major SCN resistance genes in Gedenshirazu and PI84751 by using SSR markers. We confirmed that race 1 resistance in PI84751 was independently controlled by 4 genes, 2 of which were rhg1 and Rhg4. We classified the PI84751- type allele of Rhg1 as rhg1-s and the Gedenshirazu-type allele of Rhg1 as rhg1-g. In the cross of the Gedenshirazu-derived race 3-resistant lines and the PI84751-derived races 1- and 3-resistant lines, the presence of rhg1-s and Rhg4 was responsible for race 1-resistance. These results indicated that it was possible to select race 1 resistant plants by using marker-assisted selection for the rhg1-s and Rhg4 alleles through a PI84751 origin × Gedenshirazu origin cross.
The common cutworm (CCW, Spodoptera litura Fabricius) is one of the most serious pests of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.). Previously, two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for antibiosis resistance to CCW, CCW-1 and CCW-2, were detected in the resistant cultivar Himeshirazu. In this study, we conducted an antixenosis bioassay using a recombinant inbred population derived from a cross between a susceptible cultivar Fukuyutaka and Himeshirazu to perform QTL analysis. Two QTLs for antixenosis resistance, qRslx1 and qRslx2, were identified on Chrs 7 and 12, and the resistant alleles of qRslx1 and qRslx2 were derived from Himeshirazu and Fukuyutaka, respectively. The position of qRslx1 is similar to that of CCW-1. We also analyzed pubescence characteristics because they have been reported to be associated with soybean insect resistance. Two QTLs for pubescence length (on Chrs 7 and 12) and two QTLs for pubescence density (on Chrs 1 and 12) were identified. The pubescence QTLs on Chrs 7 and 12 were located near qRslx1 and qRslx2, respectively. These results suggest that the antixenosis resistance could be controlled genetically by the identified QTLs and that the pubescence characteristics might contribute to the soybean antixenosis resistance to CCW.
Soybean dwarf virus (SbDV) causes serious dwarfing, yellowing and sterility in soybean (Glycine max). The soybean cv. Adams is tolerant to SbDV infection in the field and exhibits antibiosis to foxglove aphid (Aulacorthum solani), which transmits SbDV. This antibiosis (termed “aphid resistance”) is required for tolerance to SbDV in the field in segregated progenies of Adams. A major quantitative trait locus, Raso1, is reported for foxglove aphid resistance. Our objectives were to fine map Raso1 and to reveal whether Raso1 alone is sufficient to confer both aphid resistance and SbDV tolerance. We introduced Raso1 into cv. Toyomusume by backcrossing and investigated the degree of aphid antibiosis to foxglove aphid and the degree of tolerance to SbDV in the field. All Raso1-introduced backcross lines showed aphid resistance. Interestingly, only one Raso1-introduced backcross line (TM-1386) showed tolerance to SbDV in the field. The results demonstrated Raso1 alone is sufficient to confer aphid resistance but insufficient for SbDV tolerance. Tolerance to SbDV was indicated to require additional gene(s) to Raso1. Additionally, Raso1 was mapped to a 63-kb interval on chromosome 3 of the Williams 82 sequence assembly (Glyma1). This interval includes a nucleotide-binding site–leucine-rich repeat encoding gene and two other genes in the Williams 82 soybean genome sequence.
The peanut stunt virus (PSV) causes yield losses in soybean and reduced seed quality due to seed mottling. The objectives of this study were to determine the phenotypic reactions of soybean germplasms to inoculation with two PSV isolates (PSV-K, PSV-T), the inheritance of PSV resistance in soybean cultivars, and the locus of the PSV resistance gene. We investigated the PSV resistance of 132 soybean cultivars to both PSV isolates; of these, 73 cultivars exhibited resistance to both PSV isolates. Three resistant cultivars (Harosoy, Tsurunotamago 1 and Hyuga) were crossed with the susceptible cultivar Enrei. The crosses were evaluated in the F1, F2 and F2:3 generations for their reactions to inoculation with the two PSV isolates. In an allelism test, we crossed Harosoy and Tsurunotamago 1 with the resistant cultivar Hyuga. The results revealed that PSV resistance in these cultivars is controlled by a single dominant gene at the same locus. We have proposed Rpsv1, as the name of the resistance gene in Hyuga. We also constructed a linkage map using recombinant inbred lines between Hyuga × Enrei using 176 SSR markers. We mapped Rpsv1 near the Satt435 locus on soybean chromosome 7.
Palmitic acid is the most abundant (approx. 11% of total fatty acids) saturated fatty acid in conventional soybean seed oil. Increasing the saturated acid content of soybean oil improves its oxidative stability and plasticity. We have developed three soybean mutants with high palmitic acid content by X-ray irradiation. In this study, we successfully identified the mutated sites of two of these high-palmitic-acid mutants, J10 and M22. PCR-based mutant analysis revealed that J10 has a 206,203-bp-long deletion that includes the GmKASIIA gene and 16 other predicted genes, and M22 has a 26-bp-long deletion in the sixth intron of GmKASIIB. The small deletion in M22 causes mis-splicing of GmKASIIB transcripts, which should result in nonfunctional products. In addition, we designed co-dominant marker sets for these mutant alleles and confirmed the association of genotypes and palmitic acid contents in F2 seeds of J10 X M22. This information will be useful in breeding programs to develop novel soybean cultivars with improved palmitic acid content. However, in the third mutant, KK7, we found no polymorphism in either GmKASIIA or GmKASIIB, which suggests that several unknown genes in addition to GmKASIIA and GmKASIIB may be involved in elevating the palmitic acid content of soybean seed oil.
Saponins are sterols or triterpene glycosides that are widely distributed in plants. The biosynthesis of soybean saponins is thought to involve many kinds of glycosyltransferases, which is reflected in their structural diversity. Here, we performed linkage analyses of the Sg-3 and Sg-4 loci, which may control the sugar chain composition at the C-3 sugar moieties of the soybean saponin aglycones soyasapogenols A and B. The Sg-3 locus, which controls the production of group A saponin Af, was mapped to chromosome (Chr-) 10. The Sg-4 locus, which controls the production of DDMP saponin βa, was mapped to Chr-1. To elucidate the preference of sugar chain formation at the C-3 and C-22 positions, we analyzed the F2 population derived from a cross between a mutant variety, Kinusayaka (sg-10), for the sugar chain structure at C-22 position, and Mikuriya-ao (sg-3), with respect to the segregation of the composition of the group A saponins, and found that the formation of these sugar chains was independently regulated. Furthermore, a novel saponin, predicted to be A0-γg, 3-O-[β-D-galactopyranosyl (1→2)-β-D-glucuronopyranosyl]-22-O-α-L-arabinopyranosyl-soyasapogenol A, appeared in the hypocotyl of F2 individuals with genotype sg-10/sg-10sg-3/sg-3.
The length of the reproductive period affects the grain yield of soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr), and genetic control of the period might contribute to yield improvement. To detect genetic factor(s) controlling the reproductive period, a population of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) was developed from a cross between Japanese landrace ‘Ippon-Sangoh’ and, Japanese cultivar ‘Fukuyutaka’ which differ in their duration from flowering to maturation (DFM) relative to the difference in the duration from sowing to flowering (DSF). In the RIL population, the DFM correlated poorly (r = −0.16 to 0.34) with the DSF in all field trials over 3 years. Two stable QTLs for the DFM on chromosomes (Chr-) 10 and 11 as well as two stable QTLs for the DSF on Chr-10 and -16 were identified. The QTL on Chr-11 for the reproductive period (designated as qDfm1; quantitative trait locus for duration from flowering to maturation 1) affected all three trials, and the difference in the DFM between the Fukuyutaka and Ippon-Sangoh was mainly accounted for qDfm1, in which the Fukuyutaka allele promoted a longer period. qDfm1 affected predominantly the reproductive period, and thus it might be possible to alter the period with little influence on the vegetative period.
‘Enrei’ is the second leading variety of soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) in Japan. Its cultivation area is mainly restricted to the Hokuriku region. In order to expand the adaptability of ‘Enrei’, we developed two near-isogenic lines (NILs) of ‘Enrei’ for the dominant alleles controlling late flowering at the maturity loci, E2 and E3, by backcrossing with marker-assisted selection. The resultant NILs and the original variety were evaluated for flowering, maturity, seed productivity and other agronomic traits in five different locations. Expectedly, NILs with E2 or E3 alleles flowered later than the original variety in most locations. These NILs produced comparatively larger plants in all locations. Seed yields were improved by E2 and E3 in the southern location or in late-sowing conditions, whereas the NIL for E2 exhibited almost the same or lower productivity in the northern locations due to higher degrees of lodging. Seed quality-related traits, such as 100-seed weight and protein content, were not significantly different between the original variety and its NILs. These results suggest that the modification of genotypes at maturity loci provides new varieties that are adaptive to environments of different latitudes while retaining almost the same seed quality as that of the original.
Soybean [Glycine max (L) Merrill] is one of the most important leguminous crops and ranks fourth after to rice, wheat and maize in terms of world crop production. Soybean contains abundant protein and oil, which makes it a major source of nutritious food, livestock feed and industrial products. In Japan, soybean is also an important source of traditional staples such as tofu, natto, miso and soy sauce. The soybean genome was determined in 2010. With its enormous size, physical mapping and genome sequencing are the most effective approaches towards understanding the structure and function of the soybean genome. We constructed bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries from the Japanese soybean cultivar, Enrei. The end-sequences of approximately 100,000 BAC clones were analyzed and used for construction of a BAC-based physical map of the genome. BLAST analysis between Enrei BAC-end sequences and the Williams82 genome was carried out to increase the saturation of the map. This physical map will be used to characterize the genome structure of Japanese soybean cultivars, to develop methods for the isolation of agronomically important genes and to facilitate comparative soybean genome research. The current status of physical mapping of the soybean genome and construction of database are presented.