Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #367218

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Perennial Warm-Season Grasses as Forage, Bioenergy, Turf, and Value-added Bioproducts within Sustainable Cropping Systems

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Title: Development of novel perennial Sorghum bicolor x S. propinquum hybrids

item FOSTER, TYLER - Texas A&M University
item BALDI, HEATHER - Texas A&M University
item SHEN, XIAOQING - Texas A&M University
item Burson, Byron
item Klein, Robert - Bob
item MURRAY, SETH - Texas A&M University
item JESSUP, RUSSELL - Texas A&M University

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2019
Publication Date: 3/11/2020
Citation: Foster, T., Baldi, H., Shen, X., Burson, B.L., Klein, R.R., Murray, S., Jessup, R. 2020. Development of novel perennial Sorghum bicolor x S. propinquum hybrids. Crop Science. 60:863-872.

Interpretive Summary: A wealth of genetic diversity and valuable traits exist in wild relatives of crop species. Our work focuses on perennialism (living multiple years) within a wild relative of sorghum, which is a trait that is of importance in sustainable agriculture and in biofuel production. This study details novel offspring from a cross of a perennial wild sorghum relative with an elite grain sorghum. A select subset of these offspring survived an unusually harsh winter and initiated regrowth the following spring and thus, represent perennial sorghums. The present results provide both novel perennial sorghum germplasm resources and insight towards developing effective breeding programs for perennial cereal cropping systems. Information will be primarily used by fellow scientists, but the work should ultimately result in better adapted, sustainable crop varieties available to American farmers.

Technical Abstract: Sorghum species provide a unique opportunity to develop perennial cropping systems due to their interspecific hybridization compatibility and phenotypic plasticity from annual to perennial life cycle. Sorghum bicolor is a diploid (2n=2x=20) annual species that does not produce rhizomes, whereas Sorghum propinquum is a diploid (2n=2x=20) perennial, rhizomatous species native to Asia and is considered a wild relative of S. bicolor. Because of their relatively close taxonomic relationship, S. bicolor x S. propinquum hybrids offer both valuable insights between annuals and perennials, as well as hybridization opportunities for the introgression of perennialism into a major cereal crop. The objective of this study was to characterize a novel S. bicolor x S. propinquum population for height, tillering capacity, days to flowering, and overwintering capacity. Our research identified hybrids exhibiting transgressive segregation for height, whereas hybrids were intermediate between the parental extremes for days to mid-anthesis and tillering capacity. Fortuitous harsh winter conditions applied strong natural selection pressure for overwintering capacity allowing for the identification of hybrids with greater overwintering capacity than the perennial wild parent.