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PIONEER Hi-Bred International is analyzing its soybean varieties for resistance to soybean aphid. The company has screened numerous soybean lines with the help of a technology it developed with Kansas State University. John Reese, KSU professor of entomology, is the lead university researcher on the project.

According to Pioneer, researchers used specific protocols for antibiosis and nonpreference to analyze the varieties. Antibiosis is the plant's natural ability to discourage pests by killing the insect or slowing its reproduction. Nonpreference is the plant's ability to deflect pests to more preferable varieties.

John Soper, director of soybean research at Pioneer, says initial observations made on soybeans in Canada and Michigan showed some differences in levels of resistance to soybean aphid.

The screening work was conducted over the last three years. Field test sites in almost every soybean production state have been set up to confirm the results of the laboratory screening.

Pioneer is in the process of isolating genes responsible for conferring resistance to soybean aphid. This will be followed by field trials and then product advancement plots. According to Soper, Pioneer will work to incorporate resistance into elite Group 00 to Group IV soybeans, which could be commercialized by the end of the decade.

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