QTL for fibre-related traits in grain × sweet sorghum as a tool for the enhancement of sorghum as a biomass crop

Theor Appl Genet. 2011 Oct;123(6):999-1011. doi: 10.1007/s00122-011-1642-4. Epub 2011 Jul 8.


Compared to maize and temperate grasses, sorghum has received less attention in terms of improving cell wall components. The objectives of this study were to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) with main effects, epistatic and pleiotropic effects along with QTL × environment (QE) interactions controlling fibre-related traits in sorghum. Neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), cellulose, hemicellulose, fresh leaf mass, stripped stalk mass, dry stalk mass, fresh biomass and dry biomass were analysed from a population of 188 grain × sweet sorghum recombinant inbred lines. A genetic map consisting of 157 DNA markers was constructed, and QTL were detected using composite interval mapping (CIM). CIM detected more than 5 additive QTL per trait explaining 7.1-24.7% of the phenotypic variation. Abundant co-localization of these QTL was observed across all chromosomes, and the highest cluster was identified on chromosome 6. Searching for candidate genes using the confidence interval of our QTL clusters reveals that these clusters might comprise a set of genes that are tightly linked. Some QTL showed multiple effects; however, the allele for each trait was favouring the parent with the increasing effect. QE interactions were observed for QTL showing multiple effects. Additive × additive interaction was observed for 7 out of 10 traits, indicating the importance of epistatic analysis. However, the phenotypic variation explained by digenic interactions was lower compared to the individual QTL. Our results indicate that various genetic components contribute to fibre-related traits and should be considered during the enhancement of sorghum for lignocellulosic biomass.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis
  • Biomass
  • Carbohydrates / biosynthesis
  • Cell Wall / genetics*
  • Cellulose / biosynthesis*
  • Cellulose / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Edible Grain / genetics*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genotype
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Sorghum / genetics*
  • Sorghum / metabolism


  • Carbohydrates
  • Genetic Markers
  • Cellulose