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CFCRA Soybean Cluster; Activity 7: Breeding of high yielding resistance & value-added soybean using elite and exotic germplasm

Principal Investigator: Istvan Rajcan
Research Institution: University of Guelph
Project Start: April 2018
Project End: March 2023

Funding Partners: 
Funding for the Soybean Cluster is provided by the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada AgriScience Program through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, with industry support from the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) whose members include: Atlantic Grains Council; Producteurs de grains du Quebec; Grain Farmers of Ontario; Manitoba Corn Growers Association; Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers; Saskatchewan Pulse Growers; Prairie Oat Growers Association; SeCan; and FP Genetics.


  • Develop food grade, non-genetically modified (non-GM) soybean varieties for Maturity Group 1-00, with enhanced yields; enhanced value and market opportunities; improved genetic resistance to SCN; and improved resistance to white mould.   


  • The development and release of highly productive and disease resistant soybean cultivars to the seed industry will allow farmers to remain competitive in the non-GM soybean global market.
  • The introduction of genetic diversity to Canadian soybeans by hybridizing elite Canadian cultivars with elite Chinese cultivars will offset the danger of narrow genetic variation in Canadian soybean.
  • The development of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistant soybean cultivars will allow farmers to combat the rapid spread and economic damages that SCN poses to soybean production in Ontario.
  • The improved understanding of genetic control of soyasaponins as compounds with antioxidant and anti-cancerous attributes, naturally found in soybean seeds may lead to the development of healthy soyasaponin-enhanced soybean cultivars in the future.
  • The development of special use soybeans that can replace crude oil as a feedstock used for a number of industrial uses, including but not limited to automotive industry may lead to environmentally friendly industrial oils and allow Ontario to be competitive in the bioeconomy.

Activity Summary:
This activity will develop food grade, non-GM soybean varieties with increased yields, disease resistance, and desired market traits for Maturity Group 1-00 growing regions.  More specifically the new soybean varieties will have the following characteristics: 

  • Enhanced yield, incorporating new alleles from elite Canadian and exotic sources such as the elite and modern Chinese varieties using molecular breeding and genomic tools.
  • Enhanced value and market opportunities for value-added markets including improved tofu and soymilk properties, higher sucrose content, saponin, isoflavones, and modified oil profiles for the healthy foods and bio-products markets.
  • Improved genetic resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) using new SCN resistance sources, beyond the common source of resistance, PI88788.
  • Improved resistance to white mould using genomic approaches.