New genomic sequencing research has shown that sorghum has much more genetic variation than previously believed - paving the way for further breeding and improvement.
The research, published in Nature Communications, used whole-genome sequencing methods to obtain the genomic data of 44 sorghum lines which represent all of the major races of cultivated grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)- in addition to its progenitors and the allopatric Asian species, S. propinquum.
Led by researchers at The University of Queensland, Australia, the consortium behind the project found that sorghum possesses a diverse primary gene pool, but noted that there is decreased diversity in both landrace and improved groups.
"Crop domestication and genetic improvement are the key points for breeding research,” said project manager Shuaishuai Tai, of BGI-Shenzhen, China.
“Our joint efforts yield an invaluable genetic resource for researchers to explore sorghum evolution and its genetic improvement."
In addition to S. bicolor, the team suggested that there is a great untapped pool of diversity also in S. propinquum – while the research provides the first resequenced genome of S. propinquum.