Major impacts of widespread structural variation on sorghum.

Zhang Z, Gomes Viana JP, Zhang B, Walden KKO, Müller Paul H, Moose SP, Morris GP, Daum C, Barry KW, Shakoor N, Hudson ME

Published: 20 March 2024 in Genome research
Keywords: No keywords in Pubmed
Pubmed ID: 38479835
DOI: 10.1101/gr.278396.123

Genetic diversity is critical to crop breeding and improvement, and dissection of the genomic variation underlying agronomic traits can both assist breeding and give insight into basic biological mechanisms. Although recent genome analyses in plants reveal many structural variants (SVs), most current studies of crop genetic variation are dominated by single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The extent of the impact of SVs on global trait variation, as well as their utility in genome-wide selection, is not yet understood. In this study, we built an SV data set based on whole-genome resequencing of diverse sorghum lines (n = 363), validated the correlation of photoperiod sensitivity and variety type, and identified SV hotspots underlying the divergent evolution of cellulosic and sweet sorghum. In addition, we showed the complementary contribution of SVs for heritability of traits related to sorghum adaptation. Importantly, inclusion of SV polymorphisms in association studies revealed genotype-phenotype associations not observed with SNPs alone. Three-way genome-wide association studies (GWAS) based on whole-genome SNP, SV, and integrated SNP + SV data sets showed substantial associations between SVs and sorghum traits. The addition of SVs to GWAS substantially increased heritability estimates for some traits, indicating their important contribution to functional allelic variation at the genome level. Our discovery of the widespread impacts of SVs on heritable gene expression variation could render a plausible mechanism for their disproportionate impact on phenotypic variation. This study expands our knowledge of SVs and emphasizes the extensive impacts of SVs on sorghum.