Cereal Research Communications

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 509–518 | Cite as

Assessment of Genetic Diversity in Sorghum Using Phenotypic Markers

  • A. Shegro
  • M. T. LabuschagneEmail author
  • N. Geleta
  • A. Van Biljon


Sorghum is an important grain crop in many parts of the world, especially in dry regions. It is an important crop for food and feed, and its role in energy production is currently growing. In Ethiopia, sorghum is a multi-purpose crop used for many different functions such as fuel, housing and animal feed. Information on genetic diversity levels among and within sorghum accessions will increase the efficiency of the sorghum improvement programmes. Field experiments were conducted in Potchefstroom, South Africa, during the summer growing seasons of 2009 and 2010, to estimate the level of phenotypic diversity among 22 sorghum accessions. The experiment was laid out in a randomised complete block design with three replications. Nine qualitative and 20 quantitative morphological traits were recorded. Analysis of variance for the quantitative traits revealed that differences among accessions were highly significant for all traits. Qualitative traits diversity index values varied from 31% (panicle compactness and shape) to 84% (glume colour). The pair-wise genetic distances based on phenotypic traits showed varying genetic distances. Cluster analysis of the phenotypic traits resulted in four distinct groups of accessions with genetic distances ranging from 0.40 to 1.59. Therefore, the phenotypic markers provide a useful measure of genetic distances among sorghum accessions to identify potential donors or parental material for future breeding efforts.


accessions genetic diversity sorghum qualitative traits quantitative traits 


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2013

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Shegro
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. T. Labuschagne
    • 1
    Email author
  • N. Geleta
    • 3
  • A. Van Biljon
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Plant SciencesUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  2. 2.ARC-VOPIPretoriaSouth Africa
  3. 3.ARC-GCIPotchefstroomSouth Africa

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