Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] landraces from China generally exhibit excellent emergence and seedling vigor under cool conditions, and are being used as sources of genes for improvement of seedling cold tolerance in other cultivars. Marker-assisted selection (MAS) could expedite the introgression of genes from landraces into elite lines, however, only a few studies have empirically demonstrated efficacy of MAS for quantitatively inherited agronomic traits. In a preceding study we identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for early-season performance in a recombinant inbred (RI) population, one parent of which was a cold-tolerant Chinese line, ‘Shan Qui Red’ (SQR). In this study, three SSR markers (Xtxp43, Xtxp51, and Xtxp211), each representing a QTL, were tested in two new populations: (Tx2794 × SQR F3) and (Wheatland × SQR BC1F3). Individual families were genotyped, and early-season field performance was measured for two years. Statistical analyses showed that the SQR allele of Xtxp43 had favorable effects on seedling vigor in both populations, and on emergence in the Tx2794 population. A large positive effect of the SQR allele of Xtxp51 was observed in the Tx2794 population for vigor and emergence. Slight genotype by environment interaction was observed for Xtxp51 in the Wheatland population. Marker Xtxp211 had small but significant effects on seedling vigor and emergence in both populations. Various interactions between loci were also significant. This study validated QTL markers in various genetic backgrounds, and demonstrated the utility of MAS for a quantitative trait, early-season cold tolerance, evaluated in the field.
Quantitative Trait Locus Sorghum Simple Sequence Repeat Marker Recombinant Inbred Stand Biomass
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We are grateful for the assistance provided by several colleagues. Terry Lemming assisted in planting and grain harvesting. Matthew Erlich, Joe Johnstone, Erica Hoenie, Tina Suen, and Zenbaba Gutema assisted with emergence counts, biomass measurements, and grain harvest and threshing. Funding for this project was provided by International Sorghum and Millets (INTSORMIL)-USAID Grant # DAN254-G-00-002.
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