Two in one sweep: aluminum tolerance and grain yield in P-limited soils are associated to the same genomic region in West African Sorghum

Leiser, W L and Rattunde, H F W and Weltzien, E and Cisse, N and Abdou, M and Diallo, A G and Toure, A O and Magalhaes, J V and Haussmann, B I G (2014) Two in one sweep: aluminum tolerance and grain yield in P-limited soils are associated to the same genomic region in West African Sorghum. BMC Plant Biology, 14 (206). 01-13. ISSN 1471-2229

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Background Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) productivity is severely impeded by low phosphorus (P) and aluminum (Al) toxic soils in sub-Saharan Africa and especially West Africa (WA). Improving productivity of this staple crop under these harsh conditions is crucial to improve food security and farmer’s incomes in WA. Results This is the first study to examine the genetics underlying sorghum adaptation to phosphorus limitation in a wide range of WA growing conditions. A set of 187 diverse sorghum genotypes were grown in 29 –P and + P field experiments from 2006-2012 in three WA countries. Sorghum grain yield performance under –P and + P conditions was highly correlated (r = 0.85***). Significant genotype-by-phosphorus interaction was detected but with small magnitude compared to the genotype variance component. We observed high genetic diversity within our panel, with rapid linkage disequilibrium decay, confirming recent sequence based studies in sorghum. Using genome wide association mapping based on 220 934 SNPs we identified one genomic region on chromosome 3 that was highly associated to grain yield production. A major Al-tolerance gene in sorghum, SbMATE, was collocated in this region and SbMATE specific SNPs showed very high associations to grain yield production, especially under –P conditions, explaining up to 16% of the genotypic variance. Conclusion The results suggest that SbMATE has a possible pleiotropic role in providing tolerance to two of the most serious abiotic stresses for sorghum in WA, Al toxicity and P deficiency. The identified SNPs can help accelerate breeding for increased sorghum productivity under unfavorable soil conditions and contribute to assuring food security in WA.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: RP-Dryland Cereals
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sorghum, Phosphorus, Aluminum, Breeding, Genetics, West Africa, Genomics
Subjects: Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Genetics and Genomics
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 06:11
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 07:33
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: The vital support of the technical staff of the Institut de Economie Rural, Mali, the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles, Senegal, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger, Niger, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Mali, for conducting the yield trials is greatly appreciated. We thank Sharon E. Mitchell at the Institute for Genomic Diversity at Cornell University for the production and provision of the GBS marker data. The financial support of the McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program, the Generation Challenge Program and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is gratefully acknowledged. The work was undertaken as a part of the CGIAR Dryland Cereals Research Program.
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