Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 127, Issue 10, pp 2253–2266 | Cite as

QTL analysis in multiple sorghum populations facilitates the dissection of the genetic and physiological control of tillering

  • M. M. Alam
  • E. S. MaceEmail author
  • E. J. van Oosterom
  • A. Cruickshank
  • C. H. Hunt
  • G. L. Hammer
  • D. R. Jordan
Original Paper


Key message

A QTL model for the genetic control of tillering in sorghum is proposed, presenting new opportunities for sorghum breeders to select germplasm with tillering characteristics appropriate for their target environments.


Tillering in sorghum can be associated with either the carbon supply–demand (S/D) balance of the plant or an intrinsic propensity to tiller (PTT). Knowledge of the genetic control of tillering could assist breeders in selecting germplasm with tillering characteristics appropriate for their target environments. The aims of this study were to identify QTL for tillering and component traits associated with the S/D balance or PTT, to develop a framework model for the genetic control of tillering in sorghum. Four mapping populations were grown in a number of experiments in south east Queensland, Australia. The QTL analysis suggested that the contribution of traits associated with either the S/D balance or PTT to the genotypic differences in tillering differed among populations. Thirty-four tillering QTL were identified across the populations, of which 15 were novel to this study. Additionally, half of the tillering QTL co-located with QTL for component traits. A comparison of tillering QTL and candidate gene locations identified numerous coincident QTL and gene locations across populations, including the identification of common non-synonymous SNPs in the parental genotypes of two mapping populations in a sorghum homologue of MAX1, a gene involved in the control of tiller bud outgrowth through the production of strigolactones. Combined with a framework for crop physiological processes that underpin genotypic differences in tillering, the co-location of QTL for tillering and component traits and candidate genes allowed the development of a framework QTL model for the genetic control of tillering in sorghum.


Sorghum Composite Interval Mapping Tiller Number Component Trait Main Shoot 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to acknowledge the Queensland Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) for providing funding for this research.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

122_2014_2377_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 1642 kb)
122_2014_2377_MOESM2_ESM.doc (965 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 965 kb)


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Copyright information

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Australia as represented by The State of Queensland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. M. Alam
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. S. Mace
    • 3
    Email author
  • E. J. van Oosterom
    • 1
    • 4
  • A. Cruickshank
    • 3
  • C. H. Hunt
    • 3
  • G. L. Hammer
    • 4
  • D. R. Jordan
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Agriculture and Food SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.NuSeed Pty LtdToowoombaAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesHermitage Research FacilityWarwickAustralia
  4. 4.Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food InnovationThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, Hermitage Research FacilityThe University of QueenslandWarwickAustralia

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