Flowering time regulator qFT13-3 involved in soybean adaptation to high latitudes

Yan fei Li, Liya Zhang, Jun Wang, Xing Wang, Shiyu Guo, Ze jun Xu, Delin Li, Zhangxiong Liu, Ying hui Li, Bin Liu, Li juan Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soybean is a short-day plant that typically flowers earlier when exposed to short-day conditions. However, the identification of genes associated with earlier flowering time but without a yield penalty is rare. In this study, we conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using two re-sequencing datasets that included 113 wild soybeans (G. soja) and 1192 cultivated soybeans (G. max), respectively, and simultaneously identified a candidate flowering gene, qFT13-3, which encodes a protein homologous to the pseudo-response regulator (PRR) transcription factor. We identified four major haplotypes of qFT13-3 in the natural population, with haplotype H4 (qFT13-3H4) being lost during domestication, while qFT13-3H1 underwent natural and artificial selection, increasing in proportion from 4.5% in G. soja to 43.8% in landrace and to 81.9% in improve cultivars. Notably, most cultivars harbouring qFT13-3H1 were located in high-latitude regions. Knockout of qFT13-3 accelerated flowering and maturity time under long-day conditions, indicating that qFT13-3 functions as a flowering inhibitor. Our results also showed that qFT13-3 directly downregulates the expression of GmELF3b-2 which is a component of the circadian clock evening complex. Field trials revealed that the qft13-3 mutants shorten the maturity period by 11 days without a concomitant penalty on yield. Collectively, qFT13-3 can be utilized for the breeding of high-yield cultivars with a short maturity time suitable for high latitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Biotechnology Journal
Early online date9 Dec 2023
StatePublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • adaptation
  • flowering time
  • genome-wide association study
  • soybean
  • yield-related traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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