Abstract

Many leguminous species have adapted their seed coat with a layer of powdery bloom that contains hazardous allergens and makes the seeds less visible, offering duel protection against potential predators1. Nevertheless, a shiny seed surface without bloom is desirable for human consumption and health, and is targeted for selection under domestication. Here we show that seed coat bloom in wild soybeans is mainly controlled by Bloom1 (B1), which encodes a transmembrane transporter-like protein for biosynthesis of the bloom in pod endocarp. The transition from the ‘bloom’ to ‘no-bloom’ phenotypes is associated with artificial selection of a nucleotide mutation that naturally occurred in the coding region of B1 during soybean domestication. Interestingly, this mutation not only ‘shined’ the seed surface, but also elevated seed oil content in domesticated soybeans. Such an elevation of oil content in seeds appears to be achieved through b1-modulated upregulation of oil biosynthesis in pods. This study shows pleiotropy as a mechanism underlying the domestication syndrome2, and may pave new strategies for development of soybean varieties with increased seed oil content and reduced seed dust.

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Acknowledgements

This work was mainly supported by soybean checkoff funds from the North Central Soybean Research Program and Indiana Soybean Alliance, and partially supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative competitive grant (2015-67013-22811) of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Republic of Korea Rural Development Administration (RDA) Research Program (Grant no. PJ0122112017), Taishan Scholarship and Purdue University AgSEED Program.

Author information

Author notes

    • Lianjun Sun
    •  & Linghong Li

    Present address: Department of Plant Genetics and Breeding, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China

  1. Dajian Zhang, Lianjun Sun, Shuai Li, Weidong Wang and Yanhua Ding contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Department of Agronomy, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

    • Dajian Zhang
    • , Lianjun Sun
    • , Weidong Wang
    • , Linghong Li
    • , Xutong Wang
    •  & Jianxin Ma
  2. College of Life Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao, China

    • Shuai Li
    • , Yanhua Ding
    • , Xuemin Tang
    •  & Chunmei Cai
  3. Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA

    • Stephen A. Swarm
    • , Patrick J. Brown
    •  & Randall L. Nelson
  4. Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Beijing, China

    • Zhifang Zhang
    •  & Zhixi Tian
  5. Center for Plant Biology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

    • Jianxin Ma

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Contributions

J.M. and R.L.N. conceived and designed the research; D.Z., L.S., S.L., W.W., Y.D., S.A.S., L.L., X.W. X.T. and Z.Z. performed the research; D.Z., L.S., S.L., W.W., Z.T., P.B., C.C., R.L.N. and J.M. analysed the data; J.M. wrote the manuscript with input from D.Z., W.W., S.A.S. and R.L.N.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jianxin Ma.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1 & 2, Supplementary Tables 1–4.

  2. Life Sciences Reporting Summary

  3. Supplementary Data 1

    SNP genotyping data generated in this study.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-017-0084-7

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