Large ex situ collections require approaches for sampling manageable amounts of germplasm for in-depth characterization and use. We present here a large diversity survey in sorghum with 3367 accessions and 41 reference nuclear SSR markers. Of 19 alleles on average per locus, the largest numbers of alleles were concentrated in central and eastern Africa. Cultivated sorghum appeared structured according to geographic regions and race within region. A total of 13 groups of variable size were distinguished. The peripheral groups in western Africa, southern Africa and eastern Asia were the most homogeneous and clearly differentiated. Except for Kafir, there was little correspondence between races and marker-based groups. Bicolor, Caudatum, Durra and Guinea types were each dispersed in three groups or more. Races should therefore better be referred to as morphotypes. Wild and weedy accessions were very diverse and scattered among cultivated samples, reinforcing the idea that large gene-flow exists between the different compartments. Our study provides an entry to global sorghum germplasm collections. Our reference marker kit can serve to aggregate additional studies and enhance international collaboration. We propose a core reference set in order to facilitate integrated phenotyping experiments towards refined functional understanding of sorghum diversity.
Billot, C.; Ramu, P.; Bouchet, S.; Chantereau, J.; Deu, M.; Gardes, L.; Noyer, J.L.; Rami, J.F.; Rivallan, R.; Li, Y.; Lu, P.; Wang, T.; Folkertsma, R.T.; Arnaud, E.; Upadhyaya, H.D.; Glaszmann, J.C.; Hash, C.T. Massive Sorghum Collection Genotyped with SSR Markers to Enhance Use of Global Genetic Resources. PLoS ONE (2013) 8 (4) e59714. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059714]