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Sorghum Improvement in the New Millennium

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Publication Date
  • Sorghum
  • Economics
  • Medicine


Sorghum is one of the most important cereal crops in the semi-arid tropics (SAT) of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Traditionally, it is grown for food, feed and fodder needs and of late it is emerging as an important bioenergy crop. Sorghum production is constrained by several biotic and abiotic stresses depending on the production environment. Although it is predominantly self-pollinated, the discovery of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) and genetic male-sterility (GMS) has enabled easy cross-pollination in sorghum. The case of pollination control in sorghum has become a boon for sorghum researchers, thus enabling development of both pure-line varieties (as in self-pollinated crops) and hybrids and open-pollinated populations (as in cross-pollinated crops). Genetic enhancement of sorghum for economic traits per se and plant defense traits that stabilize the crop performance requires thorough knowledge about different end uses, nature and intensity of different production stresses, and sound theoretical and applied knowledge of genetic and crop breeding principles. Rapid progress in biotechnology research has provided powerful tools to sorghum researchers, which complement conventional crop improvement efforts to develop desired products. Production of pure and high quality seeds of genetically improved cultivars and their delivery to the target farmers in required quantities at the right time is the key for achieving high productivity in farmers’ fields. The 32 chapters contributed by 37 specialists in this book is based on a joint training course on a range of topics including importance of sorghum, pollination control mechanisms, phenology of crop growth, germplasm diversity and utilization, genetic male sterility (GMS) and cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) systems and their utilization, development of CMS-based male sterile lines (seed parents) and their fertility restorer lines (R-lines), development of GMS facilitated open-pollinated populations, heterosis theories and their harnessing, techniques to screen insect pests and diseases, seed production principles and practices, alternative uses of sorghum, linking producers and processors. This book serves as a valuable resource and will be of significant interest to those working on sorghum improvement.

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