Rouf Mian

Research Leader, Soybean Research Unit, USDA-ARS and USDA Professor.


Area of Expertise: Dr. Mian has expertise in genetics, plant breeding, plant physiology and DNA technology

Research Focus: Improvement of soybean seed composition traits and seed yield

Support Staff: Earl Huie, Margarita Villagarcia, Jay Gillenwater, Susannah Sykes.


Increase soybean protein without reducing seed yield or oil:  Historically protein is negatively correlated with seed yield and oil. Soybean meal is 60-70% of the value of soybean and increasing soy protein is a major focus of the United Soybean Board. One percent increase in seed protein without reduction in seed yield or oil may increase the value of U.S. soybean crop by ~$3 Billion and make it more competitive in the international market. Research includes finding new sources from cultivated and wild soybeans, mapping new genes, developing markers for MAS and developing improved germplasm with high (>43%) protein combined with high yield. The high protein soybean cultivar ‘Highpro1’, recently released by Mian, is the first maturity group 3 cultivar to combine high protein with high yield for the North Central U.S. Mian discovered the widely used major high protein allele on chromosome 20 in Korean cultivar ‘Danbaekkong’. Since 2017, received $6M USB grants that include co-PIs from 10 universities (Univ. of Minnesota, Iowa State Univ., Michigan State Univ., Ohio State Univ., Univ. of Missouri Columbia, Univ. of Arkansas, Univ. of Tennessee, Virginia Tech., Louisiana State Univ., and Univ. Georgia Athens).

Increase total Oil without Reducing Protein: oil is 30-40% of the value of soybean and high oil content is desired for soy oil and bio-diesel production.  Research includes finding new sources, mapping new genes, developing markers for MAS and developing adapted germplasm with high (>23%) seed oil, high yield and standard protein. Dr. Mian is a Co-PI on a USB high oil research grant since 2016, includes scientists from five universities.

Low Oil soybean: Ultralow oil high-yielding soybean can be useful for improving the nutritional bundle with balanced amino acids. Dr. Mian is a Co-PI on a USB grant since 2019.

High (>75%) oleic and low (<3%) linolenic high yielding lines: needed due to market regulations and demand, and to compete for market share with Canola, olive and other edible oils.

Development of germplasm with low phytate is another project of the group.

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Rouf Mian