|ZHANG, LIYI - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|DING, YANQING - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|XU, JIANXIA - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|GAO, XU - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|CAO, NING - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|LI, KUIYING - Guizhou University|
|FENG, ZHOU - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|CHENG, BING - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|ZHOU, LENGBO - Guizhou Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|REN, MINGJIAN - Guizhou University|
|LU, XIAOCHUN - Liaoning Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|TAO, YUEZHI - Zhejiang Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
|ZOU, GUIHUA - Zhejiang Academy Of Agricultural Sciences|
Submitted to: Frontiers in Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2022
Publication Date: 6/9/2022
Citation: Zhang, L., Ding, Y., Xu, J., Gao, X., Cao, N., Li, K., Feng, Z., Cheng, B., Zhou, L., Ren, M., Lu, X., Tao, Y., Xin, Z., Zou, G. 2022. Selection signatures in Chinese sorghum reveals its unique liquor-making properties. Frontiers in Plant Science. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2022.923734.
Interpretive Summary: Sorghum grain is a key ingredient for brewing high-value flavored liquor in China. However, the traits of sorghum grains required for efficient brewing high value liquor are not well understood. In collaboration with scientists from Guizhou Institute of Upland Crops, 333 sorghum varieties, including those used for brewing high-value liquors, were sequenced to identify genetic factors that contribute to liquor-brewing efficiency. We found that small, round grain size and thin seed coats were desired for brewing Maotai-flavored liquor, and identified a gene that controls the round grain shape. This project has provided new insights into the traits beneficial to the liquor-brewing and flavor in sorghum grain and will be used to direct breeding efforts to enhance sorghum's value as a multiple use crop.
Technical Abstract: Chinese sorghum (S. bicolor) has been a historically critical ingredient for brewing famous distilled liquors beginning in the Yuan Dynasty (749 ~ 652 yr BP). However, an incomplete knowledge of the population genetics and domestication history of this crop has limited broad applications and a fundamental understanding of the underlying liquor-brewing and flavor properties. These issues make it difficult to establish scientific standards for sorghum breeding targeted toward liquor brewing. To unravel the domestic history of Chinese sorghum, we re-sequenced 244 Chinese sorghum lines selected from 16 provinces. We found that Chinese sorghums form three distinct genetic sub-structures, referred as the Northern, the Southern, and the Chishui groups, following an obviously geographic pattern. The Chinese sorghums were further characterized in liquor brewing traits and identified selection footprints associated with liquor brewing efficiency. Grain size, shape (grain aspect ratio as expressed by the ratio of grain length to width), and pericarp strength determine the ability of the grains to resist cooking and stirring during the brewing process. We have identified a gene (Sobic.007G124200) that regulates the aspect ratio of the sorghum grain. New insights into the traits beneficial to the liquor-brewing process provides both a better understanding on Chinese sorghum domestication and a guidance on breeding sorghum as a multiple use crop in China.