Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 26–32

Phylogenetic analysis of Sorghum and related taxa using internal transcribed spacers of nuclear ribosomal DNA


  • Y. Sun
    • Genetics ProgramKansas State University
  • D. Z. Skinner
    • Genetics ProgramKansas State University
    • USDA-ARS, Kansas State University
  • G. H. Liang
    • Genetics ProgramKansas State University
    • Department of AgronomyKansas State University
  • S. H. Hulbert
    • Genetics ProgramKansas State University
    • Department of Plant PathologyKansas State University

DOI: 10.1007/BF00226978

Cite this article as:
Sun, Y., Skinner, D.Z., Liang, G.H. et al. Theoret. Appl. Genetics (1994) 89: 26. doi:10.1007/BF00226978


The phylogenetic relationships of the genus Sorghum and related genera were studied by sequencing the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) internal transcribed spacer region (ITS). DNA was extracted from 15 Sorghum accessions, including one accession from each of the sections Chaetosorghum and Heterosorghum, four accessions from Parasorghum, two accessions from Stiposorghum, and seven representatives from three species of the section Sorghum (one accession from each of S. propinquum and S. halepense, and five races of S. bicolor). The maize (Zea mays) line, H95, and an accession from Cleistachne sorghoides were also included in the study. Variable nucleotides were used to construct a strict consensus phylogenetic tree. The analyses indicate that S. propinquum, S. halepense and S. bicolor subsp. arundinaceum race aethiopicum may be the closest wild relatives of cultivated sorghum; Sorghum nitidum may be the closest 2n=10 relative to S. bicolor, the sections Chaetosorghum and Heterosorghum appear closely related to each other and more closely related to the section Sorghum than Parasorghum; and the section Parasorghum is not monophyletic. The results also indicate that the genus Sorghum is a very ancient and diverse group.

Key words

SorghumZea maysPhylogeny rDNA sequence
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© Springer-Verlag 1994