Identification of SSR markers associated with saccharification yield using pool-based genome-wide association mapping in sorghum

Genome. 2011 Nov;54(11):883-9. doi: 10.1139/g11-055. Epub 2011 Oct 14.


Saccharification describes the conversion of plant biomass by cellulase into glucose. Because plants have never been selected for high saccharification yield, cellulosic ethanol production faces a significant bottleneck. To improve saccharification yield, it is critical to identify the genes that affect this process. In this study, we used pool-based genome-wide association mapping to identify simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers associated with saccharification yield. Screening of 703 SSR markers against the low and high saccharification pools identified two markers on the sorghum chromosomes 2 (23-1062) and 4 (74-508c) associated with saccharification yield. The association was significant at 1% using either general or mixed linear models. Localization of these markers based on the whole genome sequence indicates that 23-1062 is 223 kb from a β-glucanase (Bg) gene and 74-508c is 81 kb from a steroid-binding protein (Sbp) gene. Bg is critical for cell wall assembly and degradation, but Sbp can suppress the expression of Bg as demonstrated in Arabidopsis (Yang et al. 2005). These markers are found physically close to genes encoding plant cell wall synthesis enzymes such as xyloglucan fucosyltransferase (149 kb from 74-508c) and UDP-D-glucose 4-epimerase (46 kb from 23-1062). Genetic transformation of selected candidate genes is in progress to examine their effect on saccharification yield in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Cell Wall / genetics
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Association Studies*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genome, Plant
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Microsatellite Repeats*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sorghum / genetics*
  • Sorghum / metabolism


  • Genetic Markers
  • Plant Proteins
  • Glucose