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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Genetic Resources Management of Sorghum
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The primary goals for this project are to conserve, manage and genetically analyze a broad spectrum of genetic diversity and associated information for sorghum, to genetically enhance selected material and to encourage and expand the use of those genetic resources in research and crop improvement.

  • Objective 1:

    Characterize and conserve sorghum genetic resources and associated information.
  • Objective 2:

    Assess sorghum genetic resources for disease resistance and genetic diversity

Problem Description

Plant germplasm collections provide researchers with essential genetic variation to develop new varieties that can significantly impact agricultural systems. Germplasm utilization is increased if detailed characterization data is obtained for individual accessions, which should include qualitative and quantitative phenotypic traits, genotypic data, and responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. Detailed characterization data is lacking for more than 50% of the sorghum collection, which emphasizes the need for further data collection. Diseases substantially reduce crop productivity and profitability. Stabilization of production, reduction in chemical usage, and avoidance of disease epidemics can be achieved through the identification of new resistance sources within the germplasm collection. Sources of resistance to anthracnose and grain mold are needed to increase grain production and quality. Viable seed supplies also need to be maintained and accessions with critically low germination or seed quantities need to be regenerated to meet customer needs.


Sample of variaton on our sorghum collection

 Research Geneticist John E. Erpelding examines sorghum accessions at Isabela farm


Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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