Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) Resistance through Artificial miRNA Technology

Impact on Soybean Production and Value

This project will generate a SCN resistant soybean variety, and therefore has the potential to help the management of SCN and to benefit soybean production in US including Nebraska. In addition, this project applies the next generation RNAi technology to improve soybean traits. If succeed, it will open doors to apply this technology to improve other important soybean traits, such as fungi disease resistance.

Bin Yu, Tom Clemente and Loxren Giesler (2013)

Key Terminology

RNAi stands for RNA interference which is a general term for a process where RNA inhibits the expression of a certain gene.

Micro RNA (miRNA) are small segments of RNA that are found in plants, animals and some viruses. They are one of the types of RNA that are involved in RNAi. The miRNA bind to messenger RNA (mRNA) that are responsible for expressing gene activity. This binding can prevent the normal function of the gene.

Transgenic refers to an organism that has genetic material introduced from an unrelated organism.

Study Objectives

This project will generate a SCN resistant soybean variety using the artificial miRNA technology, which is the next generation RNAi technology. In addition, this project will identify the important regulator controlling soybean's responses to SCN infection and lead to a better understanding of mechanisms used by soybean to fight against SCN.


Transgenic plants have been constructed that express an artificial miRNA that targets a key gene in SCN. These plants have the potential to increase resistance to SCN in soybean. Additionally, several other miRNAs were discovered that are important in regulating the response of soybean to SCN infection.

A far-reaching result from this research was the identification of several genes involved in RNAi in soybeans. Although the process can have negative impacts on both plants and animals by disrupting normal gene expression, it is also an essential process to positively regulate gene expression and affect biological functions involved in plant growth and development. The identification of genes involved in the process could help researchers better understand how these biological processes are regulated and improve research in soybean production.


UNL Today: Researchers expand understanding of microRNAs

Identification of RNA silencing components in soybean and sorghum

CDC5, a DNA binding protein, positively regulates posttranscriptional processing and/or transcription of primary miRNA transcripts