BACKGROUND: Domestication has played an important role in shaping characteristics of the inflorescence and plant height in cultivated cereals. Taking advantage of meta-analysis of QTLs, phylogenetic analyses in 502 diverse sorghum accessions, GWAS in a sorghum association panel (n = 354) and comparative data, we provide insight into the genetic basis of the domestication traits in sorghum and rice.<br /><br />RESULTS: We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on 6 traits related to inflorescence morphology and 6 traits related to plant height in sorghum, comparing the genomic regions implicated in these traits by GWAS and QTL mapping, respectively. In a search for signatures of selection, we identify genomic regions that may contribute to sorghum domestication regarding plant height, flowering time and pericarp color. Comparative studies across taxa show functionally conserved 'hotspots' in sorghum and rice for awn presence and pericarp color that do not appear to reflect corresponding single genes but may indicate co-regulated clusters of genes. We also reveal homoeologous regions retaining similar functions for plant height and flowering time since genome duplication an estimated 70 million years ago or more in a common ancestor of cereals. In most such homoeologous QTL pairs, only one QTL interval exhibits strong selection signals in modern sorghum.<br /><br />CONCLUSIONS: Intersections among QTL, GWAS and comparative data advance knowledge of genetic determinants of inflorescence and plant height components in sorghum, and add new dimensions to comparisons between sorghum and rice.
Zhang, D., Kong, W., Robertson, J., Goff, V. H., Epps, E., Kerr, A., … Paterson, A. H. (2015). Genetic analysis of inflorescence and plant height components in sorghum (Panicoidae) and comparative genetics with rice (Oryzoidae). BMC Plant Biology, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-015-0477-6