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Seventeen breeding lines of soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merrill, and cv. Jack, from relative maturity groups 0.3-7.5 were assessed for their ability to undergo somatic embryogenesis. The goal of this study was to determine which lines had high embryogenic capacity. We also sought to understand the relationship between relative maturity and embryogenesis. Embryos from immature cotyledons were initiated on solid MS medium with varying levels of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Qualitative and quantitative measures of initiation, proliferation, differentiation, and maturation were recorded. The breeding lines differed significantly with respect to percent induction, number of embryos induced, and quality of induced embryos. After 1 mo, of proliferation, two early maturing lines, the control, Jack, and NK-5, had the best overall performance. High percent response of proliferating embryos was positively associated with lower maturity groups. Relatively high concentrations of 2,4-D (compared with that used in prolifcrating medium, e.g., 226 μM; 50 mg l−1) in the initiating medium reduced numbers of embryo clusters per cotyledon initiated and percent initiation, and the concentration of 2,4-D affected the proliferation of somatic embryos in a breeding line-dependent manner. The breeding lines differed significantly in the time to produce mature somatic embryos. There was a positive correlation between immature embryo quality and number of differentiated somatic embryos produced.