Hybridization with transcription factor AREB increases drought resistance in elite soybean cultivars

Rosa Emilia Moraes, Scientific journalist at Linceu Editorial, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil.

Soybean is one of the most important grains for the world economy and its production is essential not only for the food sector, but also for the agro-industrial and biochemical ones. However, situations of water stress can affect the entire metabolism of the plant, as the lack of water influences its growth, development, and reproduction (SREEMAN et al., 2018).

To increase the yield, reduce the losses, and optimize the economic gain of the crop, several studies have been carried out to obtain, through genetic engineering, a soybean variety with a greater tolerance to drought. For this purpose, one of the highlighted alternatives is the AtAREB1 gene, obtained by the AREB/ABF transcription factor. The soybean genotypes in which it is present have a greater resistance to water deficit, as transgenic plants show a better capacity to retain cellular water. In addition, the overexpression of the AREB1 gene also increases the antioxidant activity of the plant, fighting oxidative stress.

Researchers from Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA) describe the materials and procedures used for the introgression of the AtAREB1 gene into the ‘LS93-0375’ and ‘BMX Desafio RR’ elite soybean germplasms. The results are compiled in the original article Drought tolerance of elite soybean cultivars with the introgression of transgene AtAREB1, published in the journal Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira (PAB) – vol.57, e02656, 2022.

Rectangular horizontal photo. Plantation a bit blurred. Thin, tall branches, leaves that look like pods hanging from the branches. The plants look dry, but this may be due to lighting. In the background, strong and diffuse sun. The whole image is very yellowish and with strong shadows.

Image: Pixabay.

The BR16-AtAREB1 genetically modified line, containing the AtAREB1 drought tolerance gene, was generated by the Biotechnology Laboratory of Embrapa Soja in partnership with Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), and it was used as a male genitor in the process of simple hybridization with the selected elite genotypes.

The experiment was carried out using six soybean lines: BR16-AtAREB1 and its background ‘BR16’; ‘LS93’ and its F4 progeny, named LS93-AtAREB1; and ‘BMX Desafio RR’ and its F4 progeny, called Desafio-AtAREB1. The plants were kept in a greenhouse at 28±2ºC and divided into two groups: one control, with the soil kept in conditions close to those found in the field; and one subjected to water deficit induced by the total suspension of irrigation (MARINHO et al., 2016).

As a result, soybean genotypes that contain the AtAREB1 gene exhibited a better physiological performance under water stress and an altered expression of drought-responsive genes, regardless of the genetic background into which the gene was introduced. Therefore, it was concluded that the introgression of this gene into elite soybean cultivars via hybridization is an alternative to increase the tolerance of these plants to the lack of water.


MARINHO, J.P., et al. Characterization of molecular and physiological responses under water deficit of genetically modified soybean plants overexpressing the AtAREB1 transcription factor. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter [online]. 2016, vol. 34, pp. 410-426 [viewed 13 December 2022]. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11105-015-0928-0. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11105-015-0928-0

SREEMAN, S.M. et al. Introgression of physiological traits for a comprehensive improvement of drought adaptation in crop plants. Frontiers in Chemistry [online]. 2018, vol. 6, art.92 [viewed 12 December 2022]. https://doi.org/10.3389/ fchem.2018.00092. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fchem.2018.00092/full

To read the article, access

CARANHATO, A.L.H., et al. Drought tolerance of elite soybean cultivars with the introgression of transgene AtAREB1. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira [online]. 2022, vol. 57, e02656 [viewed 13 December 2022]. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1678-3921.pab2022.v57.02656. Available from: https://www.scielo.br/j/pab/a/XtnhzdyY7j5jcxGzHbYHB7z/

External links

Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira – PAB: https://www.scielo.br/pab/

Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira – site: www.embrapa.br/pab

Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (Embrapa): https://www.embrapa.br/


Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

MORAES, R.E. Hybridization with transcription factor AREB increases drought resistance in elite soybean cultivars [online]. SciELO in Perspective | Press Releases, 2022 [viewed ]. Available from: https://pressreleases.scielo.org/en/2022/12/13/hybridization-with-transcription-factor-areb-increases-drought-resistance-in-elite-soybean-cultivars/


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