Molecular Breeding

, 39:79 | Cite as

Novel alleles of FAD2-1A induce high levels of oleic acid in soybean oil

  • Rachel Combs
  • Kristin BilyeuEmail author


Soybean plays an important role in seed oil production for foods and industrial products in the USA. Chemical hydrogenation of commodity soybean oil increased functionality but unavoidably created trans fat which has been linked to many health issues in humans. An alternative to using hydrogenation of the oil to enhance oxidative stability is to genetically increase the level of oleic acid in the seed oil. Our goal was to develop a soybean germplasm as a source for more functional soybean oil with a high oleic acid, increased stearic acid, and low linolenic acid profile utilizing new and existing variant alleles of key fatty acid desaturase genes. Using forward genetics, novel alleles of FAD2-1A were discovered and characterized from a mutant soybean population already containing elevated seed stearic acid content. One of the two new FAD2-1A alleles, when combined with existing mutant alleles of FAD2-1B created a high oleic acid seed oil phenotype in soybean germplasm lines. The other new FAD2-1A allele produced lower and more variable oleic acid levels when combined with existing mutant alleles of FAD2-1B. Seed stearic acid increased to ~ 10–11% in lines containing combinations of FAD2-1A and FAD2-1B mutant alleles plus the SACPD-C missense mutant alleles; however, the increase in stearic acid was associated with a decrease in the oleic acid content and did not meet the target of at least 20% stearic acid in the seed oil. In addition, existing FAD3 mutant alleles were incorporated into the novel high oleic acid and high oleic/elevated stearic acid soybean lines with four or five targeted alleles combined (FAD2-1A, FAD2-1B, FAD3A, FAD3C, and SACPD-C) to create soybean germplasm with more functional soybean oil. This study is beneficial for improving the quality of soybean oil based on nutritional value and oxidative stability.


Soybean Oil Fatty acids Oleic acid Stearic acid Linolenic acid 



Christine Cole and Paul Little provided excellent technical assistance for this research.

Funding information

Funding for some of this project was provided as a grant from the United Soybean Board.

Compliance with ethical standards


Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the US Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Beuselinck PR, Sleper DA, Bilyeu KD (2006) An assessment of phenotype selection for linolenic acid using genetic markers. Crop Sci 46:747–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bilyeu K, Palavalli L, Sleper D, Beuselinck P (2005) Mutations in soybean microsomal omega-3 fatty acid desaturase genes reduce linolenic acid concentration in soybean seeds. Crop Sci 45:1830–1836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bilyeu K, Gillman JD, LeRoy AR (2011) Novel mutant allele combinations produce soybeans containing 1% linolenic acid in the seed oil. Crop Sci 51:259–264. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bilyeu K, Skrabisova M, Allen D, Rajcan I, Palmquist DE, Gillen A, Mian R, Jo H (2018) The interaction of the soybean seed high oleic acid oil trait with other fatty acid modifications. J Am Oil Chem Soc 95:39–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boersma JG, Gillman JD, Bilyeu KD, Ablett GR, Grainger C, Rajcan I (2012) New mutations in a gene associated with enhanced stearic acid levels in soybean seed. Crop Sci 52:1736–1742. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carrero-Colón M, Abshire N, Sweeney D, Gaskin E, Hudson K (2014) Mutations in SACPD-C result in a range of elevated stearic acid concentration in soybean seed. PLoS One 9:e97891. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Cooper J, Till BJ, Laprot RG, Darlow MC, Kleffner JM, Jamai A, El-Mellouki T, Liu S, Ritchie R, Nielsen N, Bilyeu KD, Meksem K, Lomai L, Henikoff S (2008) TILLING to detect induced mutations in soybean. BMC Plant Biol 8:9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crupkin M, Zambelli A (2008) Detrimental impact of trans fats on human health: stearic acid-rich fats as possible substitutes. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf 7:271–279. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dierking E, Bilyeu K (2009) New sources of soybean seed meal and oil composition traits identified through TILLING. BMC Plant Biol 9:89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. FDA (2003) Food labeling: trans fatty acids in nutrition labeling, nutrient content claims, and health claims vol 68 FR 41433. Federal Register, Federal RegisterGoogle Scholar
  11. FDA (2015) Final determination regarding partially hydrogenated oils vol 80 FR 34651. Federal Register, Federal RegisterGoogle Scholar
  12. Fehr WR (2007) Breeding for modified fatty acid composition in soybean. Crop Sci 47:S–72-S-87. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gillman JD, Stacey MG, Cui Y, Berg HR, Stacey G (2014) Deletions of the SACPD-C locus elevate seed stearic acid levels but also result in fatty acid and morphological alterations in nitrogen fixing nodules. BMC Plant Biol 14:143. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Haun W, Coffman A, Clasen BM, Demorest ZL, Lowy A, Ray E, Rettrath A, Stoddard T, Juillerat A, Cedrone F, Mathis L, Voytas DF, Zhang F (2014) Improved soybean oil quality by targeted mutagenesis of the fatty acid desaturase 2 gene family. Plant Biotechnol J 12:934–940. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hoshino T, Takagi Y, Anai T (2010) Novel GmFAD2-1b mutant alleles created by reverse genetics induce marked elevation of oleic acid content in soybean seed in combination with GmFAD2-1a mutant alleles 60.
  16. Jeong J-E, Krishnanand KP, Chang JH, Ha B-K, Kang ST, Bilyeu K, Jo H, Song JT, Lee J-D (2018) A novel allele of GmSACPD-C associated with high seed stearic acid concentration in an EMS-induced mutant PE980 in soybean. Crop Sci 58:192–203. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lakhssassi N, Colantonio V, Flowers ND, Zhou Z, Henry JS, Liu S, Meksem K (2017) Stearoyl-acyl carrier protein desaturase mutations uncover an impact of stearic acid in leaf and nodule structure. Plant Physiol 174:1531–1543.
  18. Pham A-T, Lee J-D, Shannon JG, Bilyeu K (2010) Mutant alleles of FAD2-1A and FAD2-1B combine to produce soybeans with the high oleic acid seed oil trait. BMC Plant Biol 10:195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pham A-T, Lee J-D, Shannon J, Bilyeu K (2011) A novel FAD2-1 A allele in a soybean plant introduction offers an alternate means to produce soybean seed oil with 85% oleic acid content. TAG Theor Appl Genet 123:793–802. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Pham AT, Shannon JG, Bilyeu KD (2012) Combinations of mutant FAD2 and FAD3 genes to produce high oleic acid and low linolenic acid soybean oil. Theor Appl Genet 125:503–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rahman SM, Takagi Y, Kinoshita T (1997) Genetic control of high stearic acid content in seed oil of two soybean mutants. Theor Appl Genet 95:772–776. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ruddle P, Whetten R, Cardinal A, Upchurch RG, Miranda L (2013) Effect of a novel mutation in a Δ9-stearoyl-ACP-desaturase on soybean seed oil composition. Theor Appl Genet 126:241–249. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ruddle P, Whetten R, Cardinal A, Upchurch RG, Miranda L (2014) Effect of Δ9-stearoyl-ACP-desaturase-C mutants in a high oleic background on soybean seed oil composition. Theor Appl Genet 127:349–358. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Shanklin J, Whittle E, Fox BG (1994) Eight histidine residues are catalytically essential in a membrane-associated iron enzyme, stearoyl-CoA desaturase, and are conserved in alkane hydroxylase and xylene monooxygenase. Biochemistry 33:12787–12794. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Sweeney DW, Carrero-Colón M, Hudson KA (2017) Characterization of new allelic combinations for high-oleic soybeans. Crop Sci 57:611–616. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thapa R, Carrero-Colon M, Crowe M, Gaskin E, Hudson K (2016) Novel FAD2–1A alleles confer an elevated oleic acid phenotype in soybean seeds. Crop Sci 56:226–231. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zhang P, Burton JW, Upchurch RG, Whittle E, Shanklin J, Dewey RE (2008) Mutations in a Δ9–stearoyl-ACP-desaturase gene are associated with enhanced stearic acid levels in soybean seeds. Crop Sci 48:2305–2313. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© "This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply." 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Plant Genetics Research Unit, USDA-ARSUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations