Soybean (Glycine max) is an important commercial crop providing both protein and oil, and its symbiotic relationship to nitrogen-fixing bacteria makes it a profitable crop in rotation systems. Its genome has now been sequenced: it is the first legume and at 1.1 gigabases, the largest plant genome to be sequenced by whole-genome shotgun techniques. Soybean has a colourful genetic past; genome duplications occurred at 59 and 13 million years ago, resulting in a highly duplicated genome with nearly 75% of the genes present in multiple copies. An accurate soybean genome sequence should accelerate the creation of improved soybean varieties.
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