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Publications (7)35.41 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A QTL model for the genetic control of tillering in sorghum is proposed, presenting new opportunities for sorghum breeders to select germplasm with tillering characteristics appropriate for their target environments. Tillering in sorghum can be associated with either the carbon supply-demand (S/D) balance of the plant or an intrinsic propensity to tiller (PTT). Knowledge of the genetic control of tillering could assist breeders in selecting germplasm with tillering characteristics appropriate for their target environments. The aims of this study were to identify QTL for tillering and component traits associated with the S/D balance or PTT, to develop a framework model for the genetic control of tillering in sorghum. Four mapping populations were grown in a number of experiments in south east Queensland, Australia. The QTL analysis suggested that the contribution of traits associated with either the S/D balance or PTT to the genotypic differences in tillering differed among populations. Thirty-four tillering QTL were identified across the populations, of which 15 were novel to this study. Additionally, half of the tillering QTL co-located with QTL for component traits. A comparison of tillering QTL and candidate gene locations identified numerous coincident QTL and gene locations across populations, including the identification of common non-synonymous SNPs in the parental genotypes of two mapping populations in a sorghum homologue of MAX1, a gene involved in the control of tiller bud outgrowth through the production of strigolactones. Combined with a framework for crop physiological processes that underpin genotypic differences in tillering, the co-location of QTL for tillering and component traits and candidate genes allowed the development of a framework QTL model for the genetic control of tillering in sorghum.
    Theoretical and Applied Genetics 08/2014; · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tillering determines the plant size of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) and an understanding of its regulation is important to match genotypes to prevalent growing conditions in target production environments. The aim of this study was to determine the physiological and environmental regulation of variability in tillering among sorghum genotypes, and to develop a framework for this regulation. Diverse sorghum genotypes were grown in three experiments with contrasting temperature, radiation and plant density to create variation in tillering. Data on phenology, tillering, and leaf and plant size were collected. A carbohydrate supply/demand (S/D) index that incorporated environmental and genotypic parameters was developed to represent the effects of assimilate availability on tillering. Genotypic differences in tillering not explained by this index were defined as propensity to tiller (PTT) and probably represented hormonal effects. Genotypic variation in tillering was associated with differences in leaf width, stem diameter and PTT. The S/D index captured most of the environmental effects on tillering and PTT most of the genotypic effects. A framework that captures genetic and environmental regulation of tillering through assimilate availability and PTT was developed, and provides a basis for the development of a model that connects genetic control of tillering to its phenotypic consequences.
    New Phytologist 03/2014; · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sorghum is a food and feed cereal crop adapted to heat and drought and a staple for 500 million of the world's poorest people. Its small diploid genome and phenotypic diversity make it an ideal C4 grass model as a complement to C3 rice. Here we present high coverage (16-45 × ) resequenced genomes of 44 sorghum lines representing the primary gene pool and spanning dimensions of geographic origin, end-use and taxonomic group. We also report the first resequenced genome of S. propinquum, identifying 8 M high-quality SNPs, 1.9 M indels and specific gene loss and gain events in S. bicolor. We observe strong racial structure and a complex domestication history involving at least two distinct domestication events. These assembled genomes enable the leveraging of existing cereal functional genomics data against the novel diversity available in sorghum, providing an unmatched resource for the genetic improvement of sorghum and other grass species.
    Nature Communications 08/2013; 4:2320. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The production of adequate agricultural outputs to support the growing human population places great demands on agriculture, especially in light of ever-greater restrictions on input resources. Sorghum is a drought-adapted cereal capable of reliable production where other cereals fail, and thus represents a good candidate to address food security as agricultural inputs of water and arable land grow scarce. A long-standing issue with sorghum grain is that it has an inherently lower digestibility. Here we show that a low-frequency allele type in the starch metabolic gene, pullulanase, is associated with increased digestibility, regardless of genotypic background. We also provide evidence that the beneficial allele type is not associated with deleterious pleiotropic effects in the modern field environment. We argue that increasing the digestibility of an adapted crop is a viable way forward towards addressing food security while maximizing water and land-use efficiency.
    Nature Communications 02/2013; 4:1483. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Detecting artificial selection in the genome of domesticated species can not only shed light on human history but can also be beneficial to future breeding strategies. Evidence for selection has been documented in domesticated species including maize and rice, but few studies have to date detected signals of artificial selection in the Sorghum bicolor genome. Based on evidence that domesticated S. bicolor and its wild relatives show significant differences in endosperm structure and quality, we sequenced three candidate seed storage protein (kafirin) loci and three candidate starch biosynthesis loci to test whether these genes show non-neutral evolution resulting from the domestication process. We found strong evidence of non-neutral selection at the starch synthase IIa gene, while both starch branching enzyme I and the beta kafirin gene showed weaker evidence of non-neutral selection. We argue that the power to detect consistent signals of non-neutral selection in our dataset is confounded by the absence of low frequency variants at four of the six candidate genes. A future challenge in the detection of positive selection associated with domestication in sorghum is to develop models that can accommodate for skewed frequency spectrums.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(8):e23041. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    01/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: Loss of genetic diversity in elite breeding populations is often identified as a potential impediment to future genetic gain and the use of diverse unadapted germplasm in breeding has been suggested as one way of combating this problem but is often impractical due to the poor performance of progeny from crosses between adapted and unadapted parent lines. This study describes the development of a large sorghum nested association mapping (NAM) population based around a reference parent design specifically developed to solve these problems. Each subpopulation was derived from a large Bc1F1 population using a single elite line as the recurrent parent. Inbred lines were then derived by selection for key agronomic characteristics. To date more than 4000 lines from 100 subpopulations have been developed sampling the entire diversity of sorghum including wild relatives. The resulting populations can be evaluated for quantitative traits in field conditions without the confounding effects of major adaptation genes. Multi-environment phenotypic data is available for many of the populations and a subset of the populations have been subjected to whole genome scans with DArT markers and subsequently used for QTL analysis. In addition 28 of the exotic lines and the elite parent have been resequenced providing a direct link to the genotyped and phenotyped NAM populations. Combined with accurate environmental characterisation using simulation modelling the resulting resource is providing a unique opportunity to not only fast-track gene discovery through the identification of functional sequence polymorphisms but also to contribute to genetic progress in elite breeding programs.
    International Plant and Animal Genome Conference XX 2012;