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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #434356

Research Project: Enhancement of Elite Sorghum Germplasm through Introgression Breeding and Analysis of Traits Critical to Hybrid Development

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Project Number: 3091-21000-043-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 20, 2018
End Date: Feb 19, 2023

Objective 1: Utilize unadapted germplasm to increase genetic diversity of elite sorghum inbreds with improved agronomic performance through a collaborative effort involving public and private sector breeders. Objective 2: Create nested association mapping resources from backcross-derived introgression populations to facilitate marker-assisted sorghum improvement.

A major challenge facing crop geneticists and breeders is how to develop strategies that combine genetic resources with the vast amount of knowledge and tools in genomics, marker-trait associations, high-throughput phenotyping platforms, genome editing, and bioinformatics to accelerate the rate of genetic gain in applied breeding programs. This project aims to utilize recent advances in high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping, knowledge of gene-to-phenotype trait relationships, whole genome profiles of genetic diversity within and between sorghum germplasm accessions, and emerging information management systems to acquire knowledge of sorghum genes and germplasm, and utilize this information to enhance the rate of genetic gain for complex traits such as grain yield through the development of new adapted breeding material. Utilizing a pre-breeding backcrossing scheme augmented with robust genomic and phenotypic tools, this project focuses on the improvement of sorghum hybrids by the introgression of desirable traits from unadapted and wild germplasm into elite sorghum inbreds, which will introduce new elite germplasm and favorable genes for complex traits, including grain yield, into sorghum breeding programs. The products of this research will include well-characterized elite sorghum inbreds with new genetic diversity and desirable traits, improved effectiveness of hybrid breeding programs through the introduction of new superior-performing diverse elite inbreds, and the development of public resources including backcross-nested association mapping (BC-NAM) populations and associated phenotypic and genotypic characterization to facilitate genomic-assisted breeding and innovative approaches for dissecting the genetic architecture of complex traits.