Whole-genome sequencing reveals untapped genetic potential in Africa's indigenous cereal crop sorghum

Nat Commun. 2013;4:2320. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3320.


Sorghum is a food and feed cereal crop adapted to heat and drought and a staple for 500 million of the world's poorest people. Its small diploid genome and phenotypic diversity make it an ideal C4 grass model as a complement to C3 rice. Here we present high coverage (16-45 × ) resequenced genomes of 44 sorghum lines representing the primary gene pool and spanning dimensions of geographic origin, end-use and taxonomic group. We also report the first resequenced genome of S. propinquum, identifying 8 M high-quality SNPs, 1.9 M indels and specific gene loss and gain events in S. bicolor. We observe strong racial structure and a complex domestication history involving at least two distinct domestication events. These assembled genomes enable the leveraging of existing cereal functional genomics data against the novel diversity available in sorghum, providing an unmatched resource for the genetic improvement of sorghum and other grass species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics*
  • Edible Grain / genetics*
  • Genome, Plant / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Linkage Disequilibrium / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA*
  • Sorghum / genetics*