The sorghum pre-breeding work of the Project is being led by the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, an institute of the University of Queensland, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research in Ethiopia. The sorghum pre-breeding work is scheduled to occur between 2015 and 2018.
The goal of the project is to introgress useful genetic variation from Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench into two cultivated sorghum backgrounds, with a focus on S. bicolor subspecies verticilliflorum and S. bicolor nothosubspecies drummondii. These taxa include considerable morphological and ecological variation, and possess genetic traits of value to sorghum breeding programs worldwide. The Australian public sorghum pre-breeding team has over ten years’ experience using wild sorghum in breeding, and plans to develop a set of public resource populations (of at least 1000 lines) from a strategic set of wild sorghums, with a focus on a number of traits including resistance to pathogens and pests such as Striga, downy mildew, and rust.
In addition, the team plans to characterize the inbred lines produced through genotyping-by-sequencing, with the goal of producing a database of genotypic and phenotypic information for each line. Phenotyping will take place in Australia at the Gatton Research Station (for rust) and the Hermitage Research Facility (HRF) for propensity to tiller. In Ethiopia, phenotyping will focus on biotic challenges such as anthracnose, grain mold and downy mildew.