The present study was conducted to evaluate the benefits of indeterminate growth habit in breeding to improve yield potential of Japanese soybean varieties, which exclusively have determinate growth habit. Two populations of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from crosses between determinate Japanese cultivars and indeterminate US cultivars were grown in Akita and Kyoto, and seed weight per plant (SW) and its components were compared between indeterminate and determinate RILs. The difference of SW between the two growth habits in RILs varied depending on maturation time. The SW of early indeterminate lines was significantly higher than that of early determinate ones in Akita, but not in Kyoto. Among yield components, the number of seeds per pod was constantly larger in indeterminate lines than that in determinate ones irrespective of maturation time. The number of seeds per plant and the number of pods per plant of the indeterminate lines were greater than those of the determinate lines in early maturation in Akita. These results suggest that the indeterminate growth habit is an advantageous characteristic in breeding for high yield of early maturing soybean varieties in the Tohoku region.
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