Dr Andrew James at work in a greenhouse, inspecting a plant.

Dr Andrew James breeding better soybean

Dr Andrew James: breeding soybeans

Dr Andrew James is leading CSIRO’s soybean breeding program with an emphasis on improving culinary quality.

  • 11 December 2007 | Updated 23 April 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Andrew James currently leads CSIRO’s soybean breeding program – the only one in Australia.

His emphasis is on breeding varieties with improved culinary traits to make:

Dr James has successfully released a number of soybean varieties that are now dominating the industry in Australia.

  • soy milk
  • tofu
  • specialty Asian products.

Dr James uses a variety of modern techniques in breeding including the use of molecular markers. All soybean varieties currently bred are non-genetically modified.

Dr James is currently focussing his research on:

  • adaptation of grain legumes to difficult environments (tropics, drought, heat and cold)
  • maximum yield research (saturated soil culture, irrigation)
  • understanding and overcoming limitations to adaptation caused by photothermal effects
  • development of methods for determination of culinary quality
  • understanding environmental and genetic effects on culinary quality
  • use of knowledge in breeding program.


Dr James started work with CSIRO Plant Industry in 1989 working on soybean.

He has worked on soybean improvement projects in Thailand and Vietnam and currently leads the Australian soybean improvement program which brings together:

  • State Government departments of Agriculture
  • Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)
  • Sugar Research Development Corporation (SRDC)
  • soybean industry associations
  • soybean industry private companies.

Academic qualifications

Dr James has been awarded a:

  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1988
  • Doctor of Philosophy on Genotypic Variantion in Soybean for Drought Stress Response, also from the University of Queensland in 2004

He was awarded his Doctorate while working at CSIRO Plant Industry.


Dr James has successfully released a number of soybean varieties that are now dominating the industry in Australia.

These varieties include:

  • Snowy: quality suitable for tofu making and can be grown in the Riverina region
  • Stuart: light hilium suitable for certain culinary uses and can be grown in coastal and tropical Queensland
  • Bunya: excellent gelling properties for tofu, for use from central NSW to central Queensland
  • Oakey: a special purpose variety for some markets in Japan
  • Fraser: a variety with human consumption quality for crop rotation in the Fraser-coast region of Queensland
  • DT21: a variety with broad adaptation to Spring, Summer and Winter cropping season in Vietnam due to near day-length insensitivity.

Learn more about the work of CSIRO Plant Industry.