Reduced genetic diversity in cultivated soybean coupled with changing dietary expectations, climate change, and increase in population demands expansion of current gene pool. Wild soybeans are an opportunistic resource and a rational choice to discover novel genes and gene families for alternative crop production systems and to improve soybean. Multiple agronomic traits, lineage-specific genes, and domestication-related traits have been studied in wild soybeans in contrast to cultivated soybeans, and it has been proved that wild soybeans are an essential genomic resource containing unique and useful genetic resources that have been lost during domestication to expand the gene pool in order to improve soybean. Wild soybean is very often a plant of disturbed habitats of Southeast Asia. The vulnerability of these habitats to agriculture systems and urban expansion causes a reduction in the area of distribution and hence the diversity. To capture the wild soybean genetic diversity in its main distribution areas, a unique and comprehensive germplasm collection, characterization, and conservation platform is direly needed. Chung’s Wild Legume Germplasm Collection is preserving and maintaining a representative wild soybean germplasm collection guided by the principles of conservation genetics. These wild legumes and particularly wild soybean is a promising genetic resource for soybean breeders.
Part of the book: Rediscovery of Landraces as a Resource for the Future