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The soybean cyst nematode: Managing a chronic disease using sustainable approaches
Kris Lambert: University of Illinois
<div>The soybean cyst nematode (SCN), <i>Heterodera glycines</i>, is a damaging pest of soybean that has been spreading within the U.S. for over 60 years. The nematode is now found in all soybean producing states and causes significant yield losses each year. SCN owes its persistence to cysts that protect its eggs for many years. The economics of growing soybean do not support the use of soil-applied nematicides, but many natural SCN resistant germplasm accessions have been discovered. A diverse set of SCN resistant soybeans have been developed in academic laboratories, but the majority of commercially available SCN resistant varieties are derived from one source of resistance, PI88788. The over use of one SCN resistance mechanism has applied a strong selection pressure on SCN populations, causing an increase in nematodes that can reproduce on resistant plants, or virulent SCN. In theory, SCN could be managed more effectively if soybean with different mechanisms of resistance could be rotated. However, for rotation strategies to be effective the virulence profiles of nematode populations must be known and plants with the most effective SCN resistance must be grown. For this kind of precision agriculture to be implemented, rapid methods of measuring SCN virulence need to be deployed and new mechanisms of SCN resistance must be bred into commercial soybean varieties. New insights into understanding SCN resistance in soybean, and virulence in the nematode, promise to produce diagnostic technologies that can be used for sustainable SCN management.</div>

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