Soybean TILLING-by-Sequencing+reveals the role of novel GmSACPD members in unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis while maintaining healthy nodules

Naoufal Lakhssassi, Zhou Zhou, Shiming Liu, Sarbottam Piya, Mallory A. Cullen, Abdelhalim El Baze, Dounya Knizia, Gunvant B. Patil, Oussama Badad, Mohamed G. Embaby, Jonas Meksem, Aicha Lakhssassi, Amer Abughazaleh, Tarek Hewezi, Khalid Meksem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Developing soybean lines with high levels of stearic acid is a primary goal of the soybean industry. Most high-stearic-acid soybeans carry different GmSACPD-C mutated alleles. However, due to the dual role of GmSACPD-C in seeds and nodule development, all derived deleterious GmSACPD-C mutant alleles are of extremely poor agronomic value because of defective nodulation. The soybean stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturase (GmSACPD) gene family is composed of five members. Comparative genomics analysis indicated that SACPD genes were duplicated and derived from a common ancestor that is still present in chlorophytic algae. Synteny analysis showed the presence of segment duplications between GmSACPD-A/GmSACPD-B, and GmSACPD-C/GmSACPD-D. GmSACPD-E was not contained in any duplicated segment and may be the result of tandem duplication. We developed a TILLING by Target Capture Sequencing (Tilling-by-Sequencing+) technology, a versatile extension of the conventional TILLING by sequencing, and successfully identified 12, 14, and 18 ethyl methanesulfonate mutants at the GmSACPD-A, GmSACPD-B, and GmSACPD-D genes, respectively. Functional analysis of all identified mutants revealed an unprecedented role of GmSACPD-A, GmSACPD-B, and GmSACPD-D in unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis without affecting nodule development and structure. This discovery will positively impact the development of high-stearic-acid lines to enhance soybean nutritional value without potential developmental tradeoffs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6969-6987
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number22
StatePublished - Dec 31 2020


  • Benchmarking
  • GmSACPD gene family
  • TILLING-by-Sequencing
  • nodulation
  • stearic acid
  • subcellular localization
  • subfunctionalization


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