Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health

Welcome to the Sorghum genome database

Sorghum bicolor, a member of the grass Family Poaceae, is the first plant of African origin whose genome was sequenced. The choice to use sorghum as a grasses model is based on its relative small genome for a crop plant (third the size of maize genome, quarter the size of the human genome), its low level of gene duplication and his high number of repetitive elements. Also, sorghum is an important agricultural crop in tropical and subtropical regions, where it is cultivated since > 3000 years. Its drought tolerance makes it a staple for human populations in arid environments. It is also a good source of feed, fiber and fuel in the global agronomics and economics.

Sorghum is closely related to maize and belongs to the so-called C4-plants. C4-plants have an improved photosynthesis activity at high temperatures and drought. As the first fully sequenced cereal that uses C4 photosynthesis, analysis of the sorghum sequence provides new insights into the recruitment of C3 genes to the C4 pathway.

Sorghum field

The functional and structural analysis of the sorghum genome help us to breed this cereal highly productive and to understand its molecular functions, like the drought tolerance and later transfer this knowledge to other crop plants. The identification of specific genes and the detection of their function help to understand the development, evolution and differences of crop plants. Additionally the comparative analysis of sorghum, rice and maize offers new insights into the evolution of grasses like f.e. genom size, gene distribution and duplication or recombination procedires.

PLEASE NOTE: PlantsDB is hosting the genomic resources for Sorghum as they were published in the genome paper in 2009 for now. An updated genome assembly as well as gene predictions are available at Phytozome.