Research Publications

  • Sorghum
  • Pearl Millet
  • Finger Millet

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) is a rapidly emerging high biomass feedstock for bioethanol and lignocellulosic biomass production. The robust varietal germplasm of sorghum and its completed genome sequence provide the necessary genetic and molecular tools to study and engineer the biotic/abiotic stress tolerance. Traditional proteomics approaches for outlining the sorghum proteome have many l [...]

Exposure of sorghum (sorghum bicolor) during flowering time for a period of 10-15 days to high temperature stress (>36-38oC) reduced pollen germination, failure of fertilization and flower abortion. A number of improved varieties of sorghum have recently been released for the Sudan and Sahel zones of Nigeria, with their dissemination limited by seed availability. To improve the supply of Breede [...]

Shoot fly (Atherigona soccata L. Moench) is a serious pest in sorghum production. Management of shoot fly using insecticides is expensive and environmentally un-safe. Developing host–plant resistance is the best method to manage shoot fly infestation. Number of component traits contribute for imparting shoot fly resistance in sorghum and molecular markers have been reported which were closely link [...]

Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench, 2n = 2x = 20] is the fifth most important cereal crop globally, and is grown primarily in arid and semi-arid conditions. Major biotic and abiotic constraints hampering sorghum production include shoot fly infestation during early stages of crop development (seedling establishment and early growth stages; but only present in the eastern hemisphere) and terminal [...]

Seven strains of Streptomyces spp. (BCA-546, BCA-659, BCA-667, BCA-689, BCA-698, CAI-8 and CAI-133; demonstrated previously to have potential for plant growth-promotion on sorghum and chickpea) were evaluated for their antagonistic potential against Macrophomina phaseolina, causal agent of charcoal rot disease of sorghum, by dual culture assay, secondary metabolite production assay and in greenhou [...]

Accurate and reliable gene expression data from qPCR depends on stable reference gene expression for potential gene functional analyses. In this study, 15 reference genes were selected and analyzed in various sample sets including abiotic stress treatments (salt, cold, water stress, heat, and abscisic acid) and tissues (leaves, roots, seedlings, panicle, and mature seeds). Statistical tools, inclu [...]

Rural Malians depend on sorghum as a staple food. Despite long-term investment in sorghum improvement, achieving major gains in sorghum yields has posed challenges. We assessed the potential economic impact of the first Guinea-race sorghum hybrids developed and diffused using participatory plant breeding with decentralised, farmer-based seed systems. We compared this approach to formal plant breed [...]

Three sorghum backgrounds [Atlas, Early Hegari (EH), and Kansas Collier (KC)] and two bmr mutants (bmr6 and bmr12) of each line were evaluated and compared for grain and biomass yield, biomass composition, and 2,3-butanediol production from biomass. The data showed that the bmr6 mutation in EH background led to a significant decrease in stover yield and increase in grain yield, whereas the stover [...]

Sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] crop in the semiarid tropics often suffers from post-flowering drought stress, which causes substantial losses in grain yield and stover quality. This research was aimed at studying the yield response of sorghum mini core accessions to post-flowering drought stress to identify drought-tolerant sources for sorghum improvement. Mini core accessions were grouped [...]

Sorghum is a major food staple in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but its production is constrained by the parasitic plant Striga that attaches to the roots of many cereals crops and causes severe stunting and loss of yield. Away from cultivated farmland, wild sorghum accessions grow as weedy plants and have shown remarkable immunity to Striga. We sought to determine the extent of the resistance to Stri [...]

Many farmers in West and Central Africa (WCA) prefer tall (>3 m) grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] for various reasons. This study seeks to determine (i) what yield superiority newly bred, tall, photoperiod-sensitive guinea-race sorghum hybrids can provide relative to an adapted landrace variety across a wide range of productivity conditions, and (ii) the risk of these hybrids failing [...]

Shoot fly is a major insect pest of sorghum damaging early crop growth, establishment and productivity. Host plant resistance is an efficient approach to minimize yield losses due to shoot fly infestation. Seedling leaf blade glossiness and trichome density are morphological traits associated with shoot fly resistance. Our objective was to identify and evaluate QTLs for glossiness and trichome den [...]

Sorghum is a typical short-day (SD) plant and its use in grain or biomass production in temperate regions depends on its flowering time control, but the underlying molecular mechanism of floral transition in sorghum is poorly understood. Here we characterized sorghum FLOWERING LOCUS T (SbFT) genes to establish a molecular road map for mechanistic understanding. Out of 19 PEBP genes, SbFT1, SbFT8 a [...]

Crop populations in smallholder farming systems are shaped by the interaction of biological, ecological, and social processes, occurring on different spatio temporal scales. Understanding these dynamics is fundamental for the conservation of crop genetic resources. In this study, we investigated the processes involved in sorghum and pearl millet diversity dynamics on Mount Kenya. Surveys were cond [...]

Sorghum is one of the world’s most important food, feed, and fiber crops as well as a potential feedstock for lignocellulosic bioenergy. Early-season planting extends sorghum’s growing season and increases yield in temperate regions. However, sorghum’s sensitivity to low soil temperatures adversely impacts seed germination. In this study, we evaluated the 242 accessions of the ICRISAT sorghum mini [...]

Better defining niches for the photoperiod sensitive sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) varieties of West Africa into the local cropping system might help to improve the resilience of food production in the region. In particular, crop models are key tools to assess the growth and development of such varieties against climate and soil variability. In this study, we compared the performance of thre [...]

The study of genetic diversity in crops has a strong impact on plant breeding and maintenance of genetic resources. Comprehensive knowledge of the genetic biodiversity of cultivated and wild sorghum germplasm is an important prerequisite for sustainability of sorghum production. Recurrent droughts resulting from climate change scenarios’ in many East and Central Africa countries, where sorghum is [...]

Background Chilo partellus is an important insect pest infesting sorghum and maize. The larvae internalize in the stem, rendering difficulties in pest management. We investigated the effects of Capsicum annuum proteinase inhibitors (CanPIs) on C. partellus larvae by in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. Methods Recombinant CanPI-7 (with four-Inhibitory Repeat Domains, IRDs), -22 (two-IRDs) and insect [...]

North Eastern Ethiopia is a major sorghum-growing region. A total of 415 sorghum landraces were sampled to represent the range of agro-ecologies (three altitude ranges) as well as spatial heterogeneity, that is, 4 zones: North Welo, South Welo, Oromiya and North Shewa with each zone containing 2 to 5 districts. The landraces were genotyped with simple sequence repeats (SSR) and inter simple sequen [...]

The A5 cytoplasmic-nuclear male sterility (CMS), the most stable cytoplasm available in pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L). R. Br.] is yet to be utilized on large scale by breeders owing to limited fertility restoration in the available germplasm for this cytoplasm. An understanding of the inheritance of fertility restoration can make significant contributions to restorer breeding efficiency of [...]

Pearl millet is a climate-resilient nutritious crop requiring low inputs and is capable of giving economic returns in marginal agro-ecologies. In this study, we report large-effect iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) content quantitative trait loci (QTLs) using diversity array technology (DArT) and simple sequence repeats (SSRs) markers to generate a genetic linkage map using 317 recombinant inbred line (RIL) [...]

Highlights of the study • ICRISAT commissioned a third-party evaluation in 2015 to assess ‘on-farm impact of pearl millet HPRC hybrids’ developed during 2000-2010. • The study covered 563 pearl millet growers spanning 57 villages and 25 mandals from three states (Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh) in India. • HPRC hybrids covered about 60% of pearl millet hybrid area in the three states during [...]

Genetic distances between hybrid parents based on phenotypic traits and molecular markers were investigated to assess their relationship with heterosis for grain and stover yield and other traits in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum [L.] R. Br.). Fifty-one hybrids developed using 101 hybrid parents (B and R lines) and showing a wide range of genetic distance between their parents based on eight phe [...]

Pearl millet is a climate resilient crop and one of the most widely grown millets worldwide. Heterotic hybrid development is one of the principal breeding objectives in pearl millet. In a maiden attempt to identify heterotic groups for grain yield, a total of 343 hybrid parental [maintainer (B-) and restorer (R-)] lines were genotyped with 88 polymorphic SSR markers. The SSRs generated a total of [...]

Genotypic differences in transpiration rate responses to high vapour pressure deficit (VPD) was earlier reported. Here we tested the hypothesis that this limitation could relate to different degrees of dependence on the apoplastic (spaces between cells), and symplastic water transport pathways (through cells via aquaporin-facilitated transport), which are known to have different hydraulic conducti [...]

Understanding the allelic complementation of restoration among the stable restorer lines will contribute to robust pearl millet restorer breeding program. Thus, present study aimed to test allelic relationship between four diverse restorer lines each for A1 and A4 cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) systems to find linkage between restorer genes carried by different restorers of each CMS systems. Six [...]

A participatory rural appraisal was performed in order to identify farmers’ pearl millet production constraints, preferred varietal traits and their knowledge about Striga hermonthica. This was conducted in Dutse (Madobi and Kudai), Birninkudu (Kantoga and Kafingana) and Kiyawa (Karfawa and Shuwarin) local governments of Jigawa state Nigeria. Questionnaires and focus group discussion were used to [...]

Pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R. Br.] is a staple crop for the people of arid and semi-arid regions of the world. It is fast gaining importance as a climate resilient nutricereal. Exploiting the bold seeded, semi-dwarf, and early flowering genotypes in pearl millet is a key breeding strategy to enhance yield, adaptability, and for adequate food in resource-poor zones. Genetic variation for [...]

Pearl millet, predominantly a rainfed dryland crop, often encounters terminal drought in crop season. Grain hybrids grown in India are of medium to tall height, and majority of them are based on d2 dwarf seed-parents. Eight pairs of tall and d2 dwarf isogenic-lines, developed from two diverse composites, were evaluated under irrigated control and imposed terminal drought for two-years to examine t [...]

Pearl millet is a crop of the semi-arid tropics having high degree of genetic diversity and variable tolerance to drought stress. To investigate drought tolerance mechanism that possibly accounts for differences in drought tolerance, four recombinant inbred lines from a high resolution cross (HRC) were selected for variability in their transpiration rate (Tr) response to vapour pressure deficit (V [...]

Genetic diversity in the breeding materials is an essential component to improve the efficiency of any crop improvement programme. In present study, 150 seed and restorer parents were evaluated for grain yield and its component traits at two diverse agro-ecologies CCSHAU-Hisar and ICRISAT-Patancheru. Analysis of variance revealed significant differences among hybrid parents for all traits. Cluster [...]

Pearl millet [Cenchrus americanus (L.) Morrone] is a staple food for more than 90 million farmers in arid and semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa, India and South Asia. We report the ~1.79 Gb draft whole genome sequence of reference genotype Tift 23D2B1-P1-P5, which contains an estimated 38,579 genes. We highlight the substantial enrichment for wax biosynthesis genes, which may contribute to h [...]

Blast has emerged as an important disease in the major pearl millet growing areas in India. The present investigation was undertaken to study cultural, pathogenic and molecular diversity in the M. grisea isolates infecting pearl millet, effect of temperature and leaf wetness duration on blast development and to screen pearl millet lines for resistance to blast disease. Culture characters of four m [...]

Endophytic Trichoderma hamatum UoM 13 isolated from pearl millet roots was evaluated for its efficiency to suppress downy mildew disease. Under laboratory conditions, T. hamatum seed treatment significantly enhanced pearl millet seed germination and seedling vigor. T. hamatum seed treatment resulted in systemic and durable immunity against pearl millet downy mildew disease under greenhouse and fie [...]

Developing cultivars with traits that can enhance and sustain productivity under climate change will be an important climate smart adaptation option. The modified CSM-CERES-Pearl millet model was used to assess yield gains by modifying plant traits determining crop maturity duration, potential yield and tolerance to drought and heat in pearl millet cultivars grown at six locations in arid (Hisar, [...]

Downy mildew (Sclerospora graminicola (Sacc) Schroet.) of pearl millet [Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.] is a devastating disease that has greatly led to grain yield loss in Nigeria. A field experiment was carried out in 2010 at Bakura (Zamfara State) and Zaria (Kaduna State) in North West Nigeria. The objective of this paper was to evaluate downy mildew resistance in some pearl millet using Complet [...]

Plasma membrane proteolipid 3 (Pmp3) is a gene family involved in abiotic stress response and cellular protection. Here we report cloning of two genes PgPmp3-1 and PgPmp3-2 from Pennisetum glaucum, and characterization with respect to their functions and responsiveness to various abiotic stresses. Both PgPmp3-1 and PgPmp3-2 genes are 171 bp long and encode for 56 amino acid long peptides. PgPmp3 s [...]

Traits influencing plant water use eventually define the fitness of genotypes for specific rainfall environments. We assessed the response of several water use traits to vapour pressure deficit (VPD) in pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.) genotypes known to differ in drought adaptation mechanisms: PRLT 2/89–33 (terminal drought-adapted parent), H 77/833–2 (terminal drought-sensitive paren [...]

The objectives were to (1) quantify high temperature (HT) stress impacts at different growth stages (season long, booting to seed-set and booting to maturity) on various yield components; (2) identify the most sensitive stage(s) to short episodes of HT stress during reproductive development; (3) understand the genetic variations for HT stress tolerance based on cardinal temperatures for pollen ger [...]

Knowledge of association between traits and heritability is important in breeding for purposes of effective trait selection. Such information on finger millet in east Africa is very limited. This study was intended to determine the association and heritability for 19 quantitative traits of 340 finger millet landraces from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and 80 global minicore accessions from ICRISAT Ge [...]

Soil infertility is one of the main factors leading to low finger millet production in the semi-arid tropics of Kenya. About 50-80% of P applied as fertilizer is adsorbed by soil and the amount of P needed to achieve maintenance of its adequate status and influence on other soil properties has not been well documented. An on-station experiment was therefore conducted at the KALROKiboko research st [...]

Diabetes has become a highly problematic and increasingly prevalent disease world-wide. It has contributed toward 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Management techniques for diabetes prevention in high-risk as well as in affected individuals, beside medication, are mainly through changes in lifestyle and dietary regulation. Particularly, diet can have a great influence on life quality for those that suf [...]

Finger millet is an important cereal crop in eastern Africa and southern India with excellent grain storage quality and unique ability to thrive in extreme environmental conditions. Since negligible attention has been paid to improving this crop to date, the current study used Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies to develop both Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) and Single Nucleotide Polymorph [...]

Finger millet is a staple food crop of many communities in Africa. The crop is highly nutritious and has incredible grain storage quality. Limited research investment in finger millet in the past has resulted in poor yields and there are currently no commercial hybrids. We investigated the response of different finger millet genotypes (Okhale-1, Gulu-E, KACCIMMI-72, IE 2872, IE 4115 and U-15) to t [...]

Genetic diversity of finger millet (Eleusine coracana), a nutritious neglected staple cereal in Africa and South Asia is largely uncharacterized. This study analysed 82 published SSR markers for finger millet across 10 diverse accessions to compile an informative set for genetic characterisation. Extensive optimization compared single samples with bulked leaf or bulked DNA samples for capturing wi [...]

Finger millet (Eleusine coracana L. Gaertn.) ranks third in production among the dry land cereals. It is widely cultivated in Africa and South Asia where soil salinization is a major production constraint. It is a potential crop for salt affected soils. To identify salt tolerant germplasm, the minicore finger millet germplasm (n = 80) was screened for grain yield performance in a soil saturated wi [...]

In this study, genetic diversity in 340 finger millet accessions from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and 15 minicore accessions was assessed using 23 single-sequence repeat markers and five qualitative traits. Nineteen markers were polymorphic with a mean polymorphic information content value of 0.606 and a range of 0.035–0.889, with allele size ranging from 148 to 478. A total of 195 alleles were det [...]

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals (Dryland Cereals) is a partnership between two members of the CGIAR Consortium – ICRISAT (lead center), and ICARDA, along with a number of public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers globally.
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