Salinity causes major reductions in cultivated land area, crop productivity, and crop quality, and salt-tolerant crops have been required to sustain agriculture in salinized areas. The annual C4 crop plant Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench is salt tolerant, with large variation among accessions. Sorghum’s salt tolerance is often evaluated during early growth, but such evaluations are weakly related to overall performance. Here, we evaluated salt tolerance of 415 sorghum accessions grown in saline soil (0, 50, 100, and 150 mM NaCl) for 3 months. Some accessions produced up to 400 g per plant of biomass and showed no growth inhibition at 50 mM NaCl. Our analysis indicated that the genetic factors that affected biomass production under 100 mM salt stress were more different from those without salt stress, comparing to the differences between those under 50 mM and 100 mM salt stress. A genome-wide association study for salt tolerance identified two singlenucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were significantly associated with biomass production, only at 50 mM NaCl. Additionally, two SNPs were significantly associated with salt tolerance index as an indicator for growth response of each accession to salt stress. Our results offer candidate genetic resources and SNP markers for breeding salt-tolerant sorghum.
- Genome-wide association study
- Natural variation
- Salt tolerance