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David Bricker
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, September 23, 2003

IUB biologist gets $2.6 million to study soybean disease resistance

The National Science Foundation has approved funding for a new three-year, $2.6 million Indiana University Bloomington study of genes that make soybean plants resistant to disease.

IUB biologist Roger Innes leads a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Cornell University, Virginia Tech, the University of Oklahoma and IUB. The researchers will sequence a large segment of DNA shared by soybean and its wild relatives that includes genes for disease resistance. The location and identification of these genes is a crucial step in the isolation and transfer of these genes to crops that may benefit from enhanced disease resistance.

Despite lingering questions about their ecological effects, the genetic modification of crops presents an alternative to pesticide use -- a prospect that appeals to both farmers and consumers.

Soybean (Glycine species) is second only to corn in number of acres planted in the United States and is an important source of protein and oil for humans and animals.

The project is part of NSF's Plant Genome Research Program, which examines the structure and function of plant genes, particularly those important to agriculture, environmental concerns, energy and health.

To speak with Innes, contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035 or