Genetic variation for grain nutritional profile and yield potential in sorghum and the possibility of selection for drought tolerance under irrigated conditions.

Kamal NM, Gorafi YSA, Tomemori H, Kim JS, Elhadi GMI, Tsujimoto H

Published: 3 September 2023 in BMC genomics
Keywords: Africa, Asia, Diversity, Drought, GWAS, Seed nutrition, Sorghum
Pubmed ID: 37660014
DOI: 10.1186/s12864-023-09613-w

BACKGROUND: Increasing grain nutritional value in sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) is a paramount breeding objective, as is increasing drought resistance (DR), because sorghum is grown mainly in drought-prone areas. The genetic basis of grain nutritional traits remains largely unknown. Marker-assisted selection using significant loci identified through genome-wide association study (GWAS) shows potential for selecting desirable traits in crops. This study assessed natural variation available in sorghum accessions from around the globe to identify novel genes or genomic regions with potential for improving grain nutritional value, and to study associations between DR traits and grain weight and nutritional composition.RESULTS: We dissected the genetic architecture of grain nutritional composition, protein content, thousand-kernel weight (TKW), and plant height (PH) in sorghum through GWAS of 163 unique African and Asian accessions under irrigated and post-flowering drought conditions. Several QTLs were detected. Some were significantly associated with DR, TKW, PH, protein, and Zn, Mn, and Ca contents. Genomic regions on chromosomes 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, and 10 were associated with TKW, nutritional, and DR traits; colocalization patterns of these markers indicate potential for simultaneous improvement of these traits. In African accessions, markers associated with TKW were mapped to six regions also associated with protein, Zn, Ca, Mn, Na, and DR, suggesting the potential for simultaneous selection for higher grain nutrition and TKW. Our results indicate that it may be possible to select for increased DR on the basis of grain nutrition and weight potential.CONCLUSIONS: This study provides a valuable resource for selecting landraces for use in plant breeding programs and for identifying loci that may contribute to grain nutrition and weight with the hope of producing cultivars that combine improved yield traits, nutrition, and DR.

Japan Science and Technology Agency - SATREPS Project JPMJSA1805