Glycine max v1.0
Please note that the latest data is available at Phytozome.

Soybean (Glycine max) is the most valuable legume crop, with numerous nutritional and industrial uses because of its unique seed chemical position. The soybean seed is the world’s main source of vegetable protein and oil, accounting for over 55% of all oilseed production and 80% of the edible consumption of fats and oils in the US. Industrial applications of soybean oil include lubricants, emulsifiers, coatings, and biodiesel. Over 3.1 billion bushels of soybeans were produced in the US on nearly 75 million acres in 2004, with an estimated annual economic value exceeding $16 billion, second only to maize and approximately twice that of wheat and ten times that of rice (as reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service).

Soybean is the principal source of biodiesel (methyl soyate), a renewable, alternative fuel produced by combining soybean oil with methanol. Biodiesel has the highest BTU (energy content) of any alternative fuel. Biodiesel is also significantly more environmentally friendly than comparable petroleum based fuels, since it degrades as rapidly in the environment as sugar and is tenfold less toxic than salt. It also burns more cleanly than conventional fuels, releasing half of the priority pollutants (e.g., carbon monoxide, sulfates, particulate matter, etc.), and reducing the production of carcinogenic compounds (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) by more than 80% (Plant Physiol. 135: 59-70). As an alternative fuel, biodiesel compares favorably with ethanol production from corn, since soybean requires no nitrogen fertilizer due to its ability to capture nitrogen from the air through the root symbiosis with nitrogen fixing bacteria. Biodiesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the EPA and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board (CARB); the Congressional Budget Office and the US Department of Agriculture have certified biodiesel as the lowest cost alternative fuel option for meeting the Environmental Policy Act standard. Enhancements in domestic biodiesel production have the potential to alleviate US dependence on petroleum.

You can learn more about biodiesel at the National Biodiesel Board's web site. The Missouri Soybean Association site has more information about soybeans.

The soybean genome project principal investigators include Gary Stacey (Natl. Ctr. for Soybean Biotechnology, Univ. of Missouri), Randy Shoemaker (USDA Agricultural Research Service), Scott Jackson (Purdue Univ.), Bill Beavis (Natl. Center for Genome Resources), Daniel Rokhsar (DOE-JGI).