Sorghum breeding time set to halve thanks to new research

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In a major step forward for Australian farmers, new research from the US will result in a significantly quicker sorghum breeding process.

The work, from the US team at DuPont Pioneer and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, has uncovered two sorghum haploid inducer lines. The first of its kind, these patent-pending inducer lines enable the creation of doubled haploid sorghum, which is the first step to significantly accelerating the sorghum breeding process.

Sorghum Research Scientist with Pioneer Australia, Ivan Calvert, says the sharing of this technology between the US and Australia will mean new, improved hybrids can reach growers faster.

“It’s very exciting news for DuPont Pioneer all around the world, including Australia, because with this type of technology and development we can achieve spontaneous chromosome doubling with parent development,” Mr Calvert explains.

“What it means is, in comparison with our conventional sorghum parent development, which can take up to six generations, double haploid technology can achieve this in one generation.

“This in turn rapidly speeds up hybrid development, delivering traits and yield advantages at a much quicker rate to Australian growers.”

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program funded the Pioneer research in Texas, Kansas, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Iowa, leveraging the world-class, global sorghum breeding programs of Pioneer.

“With this technology, and the additional molecular breeding tools that are used by DuPont Pioneer within our sorghum program, we are able to advance parents at a rapid rate and therefore test many more parental combinations in hybrids over time, which will improve the standard of sorghum hybrids for Australian growers,” Mr Calvert says.

“It’s key that the new process is so much faster, it will take at least three to four years off parent development and then hybrid advancement.”

With a strong track record of investing in sorghum research in Australia, this latest breakthrough means Pioneer is better placed than ever to deliver advanced sorghum hybrids into Australian paddocks.

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