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Integrating genetic analysis and crop modeling: A major QTL can finely adjust photoperiod-sensitive sorghum flowering

Guitton B., Thera K., Tekete M., Pot D., Kouressy M., Teme N., Rami J.F., Vaksmann M.. 2018. Field Crops Research, 221 : p. 7-18.

DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2018.02.007

In West Africa Sudano-Sahelian zone, sorghum sensitivity to photoperiod is a major trait for flowering adjustment toward the end of the rainy season. This trait ensures that conditions for crop development are optimal. Improving the understanding of the genetic control of flowering time in sorghum is thus an important step toward breeding climate resilient varieties for meeting the challenge of climate smart agriculture. In the wake of green revolution, most sorghum breeders eliminated photoperiod sensitivity to develop early maturing varieties. The evidence is now that simultaneous improvement of production, yield stability and grain quality requires the development of photoperiod-sensitive varieties. A segregating sorghum population derived from a cross between two photoperiod sensitive elite parents was evaluated in three different locations and five environments. CERES crop model was applied to decompose the flowering time of each genotype into basic vegetative phase, critical photoperiod and photoperiod sensitivity. Phenology and model derived variables were used for genetic analysis. The three model parameters were controlled by specific genomic regions. A major QTL affecting critical photoperiod was identified, whereas only independent minor QTLs were found for basic vegetative phase and photoperiod sensitivity. Candidate gene analysis in the major QTL region allowed us to propose a candidate gene (ELF3) involved in the circadian clock as a key regulator of flowering time in photoperiod-sensitive sorghum. Our findings provide critical information supporting the development of photoperiod-sensitive genotypes specifically adapted to climate variability encountered in Sudano-Sahelian zone.

Mots-clés : sorghum; photopériodicité; modélisation des cultures; floraison; locus des caractères quantitatifs; génotype; sélection; génétique des populations; rendement des cultures; phénologie; adaptation aux changements climatiques; facteur climatique; physiologie végétale; zone soudano-sahélienne; qtl

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