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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.

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

Thématique : Physiologie végétale : reproduction; Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques; Génétique et amélioration des plantes; Météorologie et climatologie

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