Developing a mini core collection of sorghum for diversified utilization of germplasm
The sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] germplasm collection at the ICRISAT gene bank exceeds 37,000 accessions. A core collection of 2247 accessions was developed in 2001 to enable researchers to have access to a smaller set of germplasm. However, this core collection was found to be too large. To overcome this, a sorghum mini core (10% accessions of the core or 1% of the entire collection) was developed from the existing core collection. The core collection was evaluated for 11 qualitative and 10 quantitative traits in an augmented design using three control cultivars in the 2004–2005 post-rainy season. The hierarchical cluster analysis of data using phenotypic distances resulted in 21 clusters. From each cluster, about 10% or a minimum of one accession was selected to form a mini core that comprised 242 accessions. The data in the mini core and core collections were compared using statistical parameters such as homogeneity of distribution for geographical origin, biological races, qualitative traits, means, variances, phenotypic diversity indices, and phenotypic correlations. These tests revealed that the mini core collection represented the core collection, which can be evaluated extensively for agronomic traits including resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses to identify accessions with desirable characteristics for use in crop improvement research and genomic studies.