Research Geneticist (Plants)
Robert R Klein (Bob) Ph. D., Professor
Fax: (979) 260-9333
Lab Number: 157B
This project aims to harness the vast genetic variation in unadapted and wild germplasm for long-term genetic gain and diversity in sorghum hybrids, and to develop genomic and phenotypic resources for elucidating the genetic architecture of complex traits including grain quality and yield. To accomplish this mission, the project works closely with Texas A&M University collaborators and has formed partnerships with U.S. private sector sorghum seed companies in the development and evaluation of new elite genetic material arising from this project plan. This project aims to utilize recent advances in high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping, knowledge of gene-to-phenotype trait relationships, whole genome profiles of genetic diversity within and between sorghum germplasm accessions, and emerging information management systems to acquire knowledge of sorghum genes and germplasm and utilize this information to enhance the rate of genetic gain for complex traits that impact human health and grower productivity. The products of this project will include well-characterized elite sorghum inbreds with new genetic diversity and desirable traits, improved effectiveness of hybrid breeding programs through the introduction of new superior-performing diverse elite inbreds, and the development of public resources including a backcross-nested association mapping (BC-NAM) population and associated phenotypic and genotypic characterization to facilitate genomic-assisted breeding.
An additional aim of this program is to understand the genetic, environmental, and molecular regulation of the black grained sorghum; grain that contains more antioxidants that blueberries. To accomplish this mission, the project works closely with Texas A&M University collaborators to identify the genes and environmental cues leading to the accumulation of 3-deoxyanthocyanidins. The goal of this research is to utilize this genetic, molecular, and environmental knowledge of the black pericarp trait to enhance the levels of these healthy phytochemicals in sorghum grain for human consumption.