Allelic variation at a single gene increases food value in a drought-tolerant staple cereal

Gilding, Edward K., Frère, Celine H., Cruickshank, Alan, Rada, Anna K. , Prentis, Peter, Mudge, Agnieszka M. , Mace, Emma S. , Jordan, David R. , & Godwin, Ian D. (2013) Allelic variation at a single gene increases food value in a drought-tolerant staple cereal. Nature Communications, 4, p. 1483.

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The production of adequate agricultural outputs to support the growing human population places great demands on agriculture, especially in light of ever-greater restrictions on input resources. Sorghum is a drought-adapted cereal capable of reliable production where other cereals fail, and thus represents a good candidate to address food security as agricultural inputs of water and arable land grow scarce. A long-standing issue with sorghum grain is that it has an inherently lower digestibility. Here we show that a low-frequency allele type in the starch metabolic gene, pullulanase, is associated with increased digestibility, regardless of genotypic background. We also provide evidence that the beneficial allele type is not associated with deleterious pleiotropic effects in the modern field environment. We argue that increasing the digestibility of an adapted crop is a viable way forward towards addressing food security while maximizing water and land-use efficiency.

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13 citations in Scopus
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14 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 63253
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Food Security, Sorghum, Cereals, Digestibility
DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2450
ISSN: 2041-1723
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 10 Oct 2013 04:07
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2013 04:07

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