Domesticated crops often lose a great deal of genetic diversity over time, which makes them less able to adapt to novel conditions than their wild relatives. Now, Li et al. have sequenced the wild relatives of the soybean plant — one of the world's largest sources of vegetable oil and plant protein — and identified several genes associated with resistance to various abiotic and biotic stresses. Knowledge of these candidate genes can inform crop breeding programmes to create new varieties of soybeans that can survive in diverse environments. This study also provides further insights into the evolutionary divergence of domesticated and wild soybeans.