Flowering is one of the most important processes involved in crop adaptation and productivity. A number of major genes and quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for flowering have been reported in soybean (Glycine max). These genes and QTLs interact with one another and with the environment to greatly influence not only flowering and maturity but also plant morphology, final yield, and stress tolerance. The information available on the soybean genome sequence and on the molecular bases of flowering in Arabidopsis will undoubtedly facilitate the molecular dissection of flowering in soybean. Here, we review the present status of our understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms of flowering in soybean. We also discuss our identification of orthologs of Arabidopsis flowering genes from among the 46,367 genes annotated in the publicly available soybean genome database Phytozome Glyma 1.0. We emphasize the usefulness of a combined approach including QTL analysis, fine mapping, and use of candidate gene information from model plant species in genetic and molecular studies of soybean flowering.
Keywords: flowering; maturity gene; photoperiod sensitivity; soybean.