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Symp Soc Exp Biol. 1996;50:31-8.

Comparative genetic and QTL mapping in sorghum and maize.

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Iowa State University, USA.


DNA markers and genetic maps will be important tools for direct investigations of several facets of crop improvement and will provide vital links between plant breeding and basic plant biology. The markers and maps will become more important for increased crop production because plant genetics will be required to extend or replace extant management practices such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation (Lee, 1995). Despite the importance of the sorghum crop, comprehensive genetic characterization has been limited. Therefore, the primary goal of this research program was to develop basic genetic tools to facilitate research in the genetics and breeding of sorghum. The first phase of this project consisted of constructing a genetic map based on restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). The ISU sorghum map was created through linkage analysis of 78 F2 plants of an intraspecific cross between inbred CK60 and accession P1229828 (Pereira et al., 1994). The map consists of 201 loci distributed among 10 linkage groups covering 1,299 cM. Comparison of sorghum and maize RFLP maps on the basis of common sets of DNA probes revealed a high degree of conservation as reflected by homology, copy number, and collinearity. Examples of conserved and rearranged locus orders were observed. The same sorghum population was used to map genetic factors (mutants and QTL) for several traits including vegetative and reproductive morphology, maturity, insect, and disease resistance. This presentation will emphasize analysis of genetic factors affecting plant height, an important character for sorghum adaptation in temperate latitudes for grain production. Four QTL for plant height were identified in a sample of 152 F2 plants (Pereira and Lee, 1995) whereas 6 QTL were detected among their F3 progeny. These observations and assessments of other traits at 4 QTL common to F2 plants and their F3 progeny indicate some of these regions correspond to loci (dw) previously identified on the basis of alleles with highly qualitative effects. Four of the six sorghum plant height QTL seem to be orthologous to plant height QTL in maize. Other possible instances of orthologous QTL included regions for maturity and tillering. These observations suggest that the conservation of the maize and sorghum genomes encompasses sequence homology, collinearity, and function. The genetic information and technology developed on the basis of DNA markers could be used in several facets of breeding, genetics, and other basic biological investigations. In addition, DNA markers have been used to survey large collections of elite sorghum germ plasm to determine the degree of genetic relationships and genetic diversity (Ahnert et al., 1996). RFLP data seem to portray genetic relationships more accurately than the methods based exclusively on the coancestry coefficient. This information provides the basis for more accurate perceptions of genetic relationships and diversity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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