Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published (as Chapter 10) in Andrew H. Paterson, ed., Genomics of the Saccharinae, Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops and Models 11 (2013), pp. 205-221; doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-5947-8_10


Copyright © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York. Used by permission.


Over the past decade genomics resources available for sorghum have rapidly expanded (Paterson Int J Plant Genomics 2008:6, 2008), these resources, coupled with the recent completion of the genome sequence which is relatively small in size (730 Mb) (Paterson et al. Nature 457:551–556, 2009) makes sorghum a rather attractive species to study. Moreover, the USDA germplasm system maintains 42,614 accessions, of which more than 800 exotic landraces have been converted to day length-insensitive lines to facilitate their use in breeding programs. In addition, a set of EMS mutation stocks developed by the USDA Plant Stress and Germplasm Development Unit in Lubbock, TX (Xin et al. Bioenerg Res 2:10–16, 2009) will be a valuable resource for functional genomics studies in sorghum. However, in order to be a robust system for study a suite of functional genomics tools are necessary to complement these other resources to aid in down-stream hypothesis testing. A key functional genomics tool is the ability to modulate gene expression through the introduction of transgenic genetic elements. This is exemplified by recent work (Cook et al. Plant Cell 22:867–887, 2010) in which RNAi experiments were employed to specifically reduced expression of two alkylresorcinol synthases to demonstrate their role in the synthesis of the allelopathic molecule sorgoleone. In addition to its value as a functional genomics tool, plant transformation offers a route to broaden access to novel input and output traits for sorghum breeding programs.