Biotech Updates

Ethiopian Sorghum Varieties Hold Traits for Drought Tolerance

December 14, 2022

By planting different accessions from the Ethiopian sorghum landrace, scientists from the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have initially identified novel sources of germplasm that can be used for breeding drought tolerant sorghum.

The team conducted multi-environment field trials in three drought-prone sites in Ethiopia during the 2019 crop-growing season using 320 sorghum landraces and four improved varieties. They meant to determine the responses of different drought tolerance related traits by examining targeted traits such as chlorophyll content at flowering and maturity stages, green leaf number at flowering, stay-green, flag leaf area, peduncle length, and panicle exertion.

The scientists found that the Ethiopian sorghum landrace accessions hold important phenotypic variation for all drought-tolerance related traits, thereby easing the identification of novel drought tolerant sorghum varieties in the Ethiopian sorghum gene pool which have not been previously evaluated for drought tolerance. Moreover, succeeding analyses and indexing of the data indicate that several sorghum landraces outperformed improved varieties in three traits. These landraces could then be used for future breeding programs to develop drought tolerant sorghum. Multi-environment field trials and genome-wide accessions studies were recommended to determine reliable top performing, stable sorghum genotypes.

More details can be found in Frontiers in Plant Science.

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