Conservation Strategy

Sorghum

Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world in terms of production and harvested area.

This drought-tolerant crop is grown on 40 million hectares, with 75% of the area concentrated in ten countries: USA, Nigeria, India, Mexico, Sudan, China (mainland), Argentina, Ethiopia, and Australia (FAO, 2017). Sorghum is a staple crop in Asia and Africa, and is grown for both food and industrial purposes.

Sorghum cultivation emerged with cattle herding as an adaptation to the dry conditions of the Sahel. The earliest archeological evidence of the use of sorghum by humans is dated at about 9000 BP, and was found in the border between Egypt and Sudan. Sorghum has been used as a model to study the influence of cultural factors in shaping the genetic composition and the geographical distribution of crops. This is particularly relevant to understand how traditional seed-exchange systems work, and therefore to find efficient ways to diffuse improved varieties

Read the full sorghum conservation strategy

Other crop conservation strategies

Sorghum global production – 2017

Source: FAOSTAT

million tonnes

Sorghum nutritional value

Source: nutritionvalue.org

Sorghum is mainly consumed in the form of flat bread or porridge. Sorghum is extremely drought tolerant, making it an excellent choice for semi-arid and dry areas.

accessions

Top 10 species

Sorghum bicolor: 111,890
Sorghum sp.: 247
Sorghum spp.: 220
Sorghum saccharatum: 136
Sorghum halepense: 121
Sorghum vulgare: 113
Sorghum sudanense: 68
Sorghum caffrorum: 66
Sorghum chinense: 57
Sorghum technicum: 52

available for distribution

available in MLS

Safety duplication

%

Back up in Svalbard Seed Vault

%

Conservation status

One of the largest collections of sorghum is at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India. The USDA holds large collections of sorghum at the Southern Regional Plant Introduction Station, University of Georgia, and the National Seed Storage Laboratory, Colorado.

Accessions biological status

Storage

Accessions

Seed

Short term
Medium term
Long term

53,282

113
41,311
42,492

Field

3

Cryopreserved

3

DNA

1

Accessions stored under long-term conditions

%

Accessions requiring regeneration

%

Characterization and evaluation of collections

Add info on levels of availability of passport data,descriptors,molecular markers, core and mini core collections?

Gaps in collections

Diversity of the sorghum ex situ collections

The diagram below, or “diversity tree”, illustrates the overall structure of sorghum diversity. It was obtained by dividing the diversity within the sorghum genepool in a hierarchical manner. The structure of the tree is based on published information and consultation with experts.

Origin of sorghum accessions

Filling the gaps…

Wild relatives gaps

17 wild species of sorghum were assessed under the Crop Wild Relatives Global Gap Analysis carried by the project ‘Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives’, which is led by the Crop Trust and the Millennium Seed Bank.

DATA ON PRIORITY SPECIES FOR COLLECTION NOT AVAILABLE ON WEBSITE- COLLECT IT (COLIN)

Landraces gaps

Similarly, a Landraces Gap Analysis has been developed to find spatial gaps for sorghum landraces. The gaps can be interpreted as likely areas for finding landraces that are not well represented (in geographical and environmental terms) in ex situ collections.

STUDY ON GOING – CALL SCHEDULED WITH THE TEAM ON 25 NOV.

Action Plan

Set up a global information system

A global information system for sorghum genetic resources will allow to address urgent issues such as duplication, regeneration, documentation and accessibility of data and materials, assist staff training, increased utilization of accession etc. Areas of work include the following topics: sorghum descriptors; taxonomy; analysis of duplicates; development of a global information system; and identification of gaps in collection of genetic diversity.

Develop a joint evaluation programme

The biggest issue highlighted in the surveys was the low level of utilization of accessions with the exception of the USDA-ARS collection. Reasons include the disturbingly low level of sorghum breeding effort internationally, and the lack of communication between the collections and potential users and identification of accessions with useful traits. The latter is a characterization and evaluation issue. An evaluation task force was formed to pursue this.

Address urgent regeneration needs

Accessions needing urgent regeneration (25,184) is a large issue. The collections needing most regeneration attention (with respect to numbers and likelihood of including the relatively largest amount of genetic diversity) include Ethiopia IBC (4400), ICRISAT Hyderabad (9000), ICRISAT collection in Zimbabwe (3500) and Mali (2,400). A regeneration task force was formed for that purpose.