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Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster, Activity 8: Very short season herbicide tolerant soybean varieties adapted to the Canadian prairies

Principal Investigator: Elroy Cober

Research Institution: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Timeline: April 2013 – March 2018


  • New allele-specific marker development for E10e10.
  • Create a “Maturity Diagnostic Toolbox” that contains a set of easy-to-use DNA markers for flowering and maturity to save researcher time and resources.
  • Selection of maturity-adapted plants and lines.


  • Twelve new populations were developed and advanced in Ottawa.
  • Populations and progeny rows were grown and selected for adaption in Saskatoon and Morden.
  • Genotyping, at maturity loci, completed for 20 potential parental lines using the Maturity Diagnostic Toolbox.

Scientific Summary:


Population Development:

Seven parents were selected on the basis of early maturity, photoperiod insensitivity and/or earliness genes. These were used in a 4×3 factorial crossing designed to generate 12 crosses. The F1 plants were grown, and populations were advanced using single seed descent. These populations were sent to collaborators for growing in 2018.

New allele-specific marker development for E10e10:

For a novel maturity locus developed by our research team at AAFC-Ottawa RDC we have developed 3 novel allele-specific markers (PCR based molecular marks); these molecular markers are accurate and cost significantly less compared to the previous sequence-based markers for this locus. The E10 maturity locus is located at the end of chromosome Gm08. The e10e10 genotype results in 5 to 10 days earlier maturity than E10E10. Allele-specific markers are now available for soybean breeders interested in the e10 allele.

Maturity Diagnostic Toolbox:

The “Maturity Diagnostic Toolbox”, which is a set of easy-to-use DNA markers for flowering and maturity, is under improvement by our research group at AAFC Ottawa Research & Development Centre. To this end, we have combined multiple primer sets and developed a user-friendly protocol, which enables multiplexing for multiple loci and allelic variations for maturity markers in a single tube. Many primers have been redesigned for better performance, recently developed allele-specific markers have been included, multiple enzymatic digestions have been optimized and proper controls for different allelic variations have been included. 

Twenty-one parental lines have been genotyped using two different approaches. Both the “Maturity Diagnostic Toolbox” as well as independent allele-specific markers have been used. The independent approach has confirmed Toolbox results 100% of the time. The Toolbox approach saves significant time and resources.

Recently developed allele-specific markers for e1e10 have been added to the Maturity Diagnostic Toolbox.

Selection of maturity adapted plants and lines:

In 2017 (Hou), 30 F6 lines were tested at two sites (Morden, Carman) with three replications in a RCBD. Four check cultivars (Jari, AAC Mandor, OT15-02, OAC Prudence) were also included. The tests were conducted successfully at both sites. Field notes were taken for flowering dates, plant height, lodging, and maturity. The seeds will be processed, and yield, seed weight, protein and oil content will be measured. Progeny rows were grown, and single plants were selected from SSD populations.

In 2017 (Warkentin), 64 F6 lines were tested at four sites (Saskatoon, Floral, Kamsack, Rosthern) with two replications in RCBD. Four check cultivars (NSC Reston, NSC Leroy, P002T04R, TH33003R2Y) were also included. Useful data were collected from each site. Field notes were taken for days to maturity and lodging. Yield data have been compiled. In SBAYT01, 7 lines had yield between 96-100% of the highest yielding check NSC Reston. In SBAYT02, 16 lines had yield between 100-113% of NSC Reston (P002T04R was 103% of NSC Reston in this test). The 7, plus 16 promising lines, had days to maturity in the range of the checks, with a few being on the early end of the range. Protein and oil content have been assessed and data are being compiled.

In 2017, 160 F5 lines were tested at two sites (Saskatoon and Rosthern) with one replication per site. The same four checks as above were utilized. Useful data were collected from each site. At least 20 lines had yield between 100-113% of NSC Reston, the highest yielding check. Of these, a few had days to maturity similar to NSC Leroy, the earliest maturing check.  Progeny rows were grown, and single plants were selected from SSD populations.

Additional Opportunities:

Further yield testing will be needed before lines can be identified for commercialization.

External Funding Partners:

This research activity was part of the Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster led by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA).

Funding for this project was provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) AgriInnovation Program and in part by CFCRA members. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Related Publications:

Samanfar, B., Molnar, S.J., Charette, M., Schoenrock, A., Dehne, F., Golshani, A., Belzile, F., and Cober, E.R.  2017. Mapping and identification of a potential candidate gene for a novel maturity locus, E10, in soybean. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 130:377-390.