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Transgenic SCN Resistance Trait in Soybean to be Coupled with Tolerance to Multiple Herbicides

In a previous article titled “Bt Soybean With SCN Resistance and Herbicide Tolerance” that was posted on this website on Sept. 28, 2021, information about BASF’s NRS (Nematode Resistant Soybean) trait becoming available in forthcoming soybean varieties was presented.

In a June 29, 2002 news release, it was announced that Corteva AgriscienceBASF, and MS Technologies have entered into a trait licensing agreement to develop Enlist E3 soybean varieties that contain the NRS trait. Enlist E3 varieties have tolerance to glyphosate, glufosinate, and 2,4-D choline herbicides. Based on current estimates, projections, and assumptions, and pending regulatory approvals and successful completion of field testing, it is anticipated that Enlist E3 soybean varieties that contain the NRS trait will be available in the latter part of the decade.

The SCN resistance trait in NRS is described in the article titled “Bacillus thuringiensis Cry protein controls soybean cyst nematode in transgenic soybean plants” [Nature Communications (2021) 12:3380] that was published in June 2021. In that article, the Cry14Ab endotoxin protein that was inserted into the soybean genome was shown to effectively control SCN (Heterodera glycines) in the field. Results from the research reported in the article suggest that Cry14Ab expression in soybean inhibits the establishment of H. glycines infection and retards or halts the development of H. glycines juveniles.

The NRS is a transgenic SCN-control trait, and will be the first commercially available biotechnology trait developed to control nematodes. However, it is unlikely to be a stand-alone cure-all for the damage inflicted by SCN infestation of soybean. Rather, it should enhance the effectiveness that has been and continues to be provided by the PI 88788 and Peking resistance sources that are in most current SCN-resistant soybean varieties (Note: these resistance sources are declining in their effectiveness). Combining Cry14Ab with PI 88788 and Peking resistance in soybean plants should delay the development of virulence in H. glycines to both of these control mechanisms. Also, the expression of Cry14Ab in soybean plants will be an additional tool that can be used to minimize SCN infestations and subsequent yield loss in soybeans. This should help farmers deal with the growing virulence of H. glycines to existing control measures.

Inserting the NSR trait into Enlist E3 soybean genotypes will result in varieties that have tolerance to three herbicide MOA’s [Groups 4 (2,4-D), 9 (glyphosate), & 10 (glufosinate)] plus resistance to nematodes. This will provide an additional weapon to use in the never-ending battle to thwart multiple major pests encountered in U.S. soybean production.

Composed by Larry G. Heatherly, Aug. 2022,