TAG – Theoretical and Applied Genetics

Studying the genetic basis of drought tolerance in sorghum by managed stress trials and adjustments for phenological and plant height differences.

Managed environments in the form of well watered and water stressed trials were performed to study the genetic basis of grain yield and stay green in sorghum with the objective of validating previously detected QTL. As variations in phenology and plant height may influence QTL detection for the target traits, QTL for flowering time and plant height were introduced as cofactors in QTL analyses for yield and stay green. All but one of the flowering time QTL were detected near yield and stay green QTL. Similar co-localization was observed for two plant height QTL. QTL analysis for yield, using flowering time/plant height cofactors, led to yield QTL on chromosomes 2, 3, 6, 8 and 10. For stay green, QTL on chromosomes 3, 4, 8 and 10 were not related to differences in flowering time/plant height. The physical positions for markers in QTL regions projected on the sorghum genome suggest that the previously detected plant height QTL, Sb-HT9-1, and Dw2, in addition to the maturity gene, Ma5, had a major confounding impact on the expression of yield and stay green QTL. Co-localization between an apparently novel stay green QTL and a yield QTL on chromosome 3 suggests there is potential for indirect selection based on stay green to improve drought tolerance in sorghum. Our QTL study was carried out with a moderately sized population and spanned a limited geographic range, but still the results strongly emphasize the necessity of corrections for phenology in QTL mapping for drought tolerance traits in sorghum.

P. K. Sabadin, M. Malosetti, M. P. Boer, F. D. Tardin, F. G. Santos, C. T. Guimarães, R. L. Gomide, C. L. T. Andrade, P. E. P. Albuquerque and F. F. Caniato, et al.