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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Genetic variation and expression diversity between grain and sweet sorghum lines

Shu-Ye Jiang, Zhigang Ma, Jeevanandam Vanitha and Srinivasan Ramachandran*

Author Affiliations

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, 1 Research Link, the National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117604, Singapore

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:18  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-18

Published: 16 January 2013



Biological scientists have long sought after understanding how genes and their structural/functional changes contribute to morphological diversity. Though both grain (BT×623) and sweet (Keller) sorghum lines originated from the same species Sorghum bicolor L., they exhibit obvious phenotypic variations. However, the genome re-sequencing data revealed that they exhibited limited functional diversity in their encoding genes in a genome-wide level. The result raises the question how the obvious morphological variations between grain and sweet sorghum occurred in a relatively short evolutionary or domesticated period.


We implemented an integrative approach by using computational and experimental analyses to provide a detail insight into phenotypic, genetic variation and expression diversity between BT×623 and Keller lines. We have investigated genome-wide expression divergence between BT×623 and Keller under normal and sucrose treatment. Through the data analysis, we detected more than 3,000 differentially expressed genes between these two varieties. Such expression divergence was partially contributed by differential cis-regulatory elements or DNA methylation, which was genetically determined by functionally divergent genes between these two varieties. Both tandem and segmental duplication played important roles in the genome evolution and expression divergence.


Substantial differences in gene expression patterns between these two varieties have been observed. Such an expression divergence is genetically determined by the divergence in genome level.