Genetic mapping of QTLs for sugar-related traits in a RIL population of Sorghum bicolor L. Moench

Theor Appl Genet. 2010 Jul;121(2):323-36. doi: 10.1007/s00122-010-1312-y. Epub 2010 Mar 14.


The productivity of sorghum is mainly determined by quantitative traits such as grain yield and stem sugar-related characteristics. Substantial crop improvement has been achieved by breeding in the last decades. Today, genetic mapping and characterization of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) is considered a valuable tool for trait enhancement. We have investigated QTL associated with the sugar components (Brix, glucose, sucrose, and total sugar content) and sugar-related agronomic traits (flowering date, plant height, stem diameter, tiller number per plant, fresh panicle weight, and estimated juice weight) in four different environments (two locations) using a population of 188 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from a cross between grain (M71) and sweet sorghum (SS79). A genetic map with 157 AFLP, SSR, and EST-SSR markers was constructed, and several QTLs were detected using composite interval mapping (CIM). Further, additive x additive interaction and QTL x environmental interaction were estimated. CIM identified more than five additive QTLs in most traits explaining a range of 6.0-26.1% of the phenotypic variation. A total of 24 digenic epistatic locus pairs were identified in seven traits, supporting the hypothesis that QTL analysis without considering epistasis can result in biased estimates. QTLs showing multiple effects were identified, where the major QTL on SBI-06 was significantly associated with most of the traits, i.e., flowering date, plant height, Brix, sucrose, and sugar content. Four out of ten traits studied showed a significant QTL x environmental interaction. Our results are an important step toward marker-assisted selection for sugar-related traits and biofuel yield in sorghum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrates / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Sorghum / genetics*
  • Sorghum / growth & development


  • Carbohydrates
  • DNA, Plant