Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] breeding: History, improvement, production and future opportunities

Edwin J. Anderson, Md Liakat Ali, William D. Beavis, Pengyin Chen, Tom Elmo Clemente, Brian W. Diers, George L. Graef, Patricio Grassini, David L. Hyten, Leah K. McHale, Randall L. Nelson, Wayne A. Parrott, Gunvant B. Patil, Robert M. Stupar, Kelley J. Tilmon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

54 Scopus citations


Soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr., has been grown as a forage and as an important protein and oil crop for thousands of years. Domestication, breeding improvements and enhanced cropping systems have made soybeans the most cultivated and utilized oilseed crop globally. Soybeans provide a high-quality protein source for livestock and aquaculture, oil for industrial uses and a valued component of human diets. Originating in China and Eastern Asia, today 80-85% of the world's soybeans, approximately 88 million ha, are grown in the Western Hemisphere. United States soybean breeding and development efforts for over 80 years have transitioned from primarily universities and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs to private company-led investments in commercial cultivar development. Soybean breeders continuously adapt tools and technologies that encompass classical breeding, mutation breeding and marker-assisted selection, biotechnology and transgenic approaches, gene silencing, and genome editing. In addition to breeding technologies, improved agronomics, precision agriculture and digital agriculture have advanced soybean production and profitability. The primary goals of soybean breeding and cropping systems advances include yield improvement, increased seed protein and oil composition and quality, and yield preservation through weed, pathogen, insect pest and abiotic stress resistance and management. This chapter primarily describes the introduction and improvement of soybeans in the United States. Contributing authors describe classical and molecular breeding, biotechnology, biotic and abiotic stress management, and soybean agronomics and cropping systems improvements that maximize soybean productivity, profitability and sustainability to supply a continually increasing world demand for protein and oil for feed, fuel and food.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Plant Breeding Strategies
Subtitle of host publicationLegumes
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages86
ISBN (Electronic)9783030234003
ISBN (Print)9783030233990
StatePublished - Oct 8 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotechnology
  • Cropping systems
  • Digital agriculture
  • Gene editing
  • Genetic diversity
  • Genomics
  • Mutation
  • Operations research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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