Efficient identification of causal mutations through sequencing of bulked F2 from two allelic bloomless mutants of sorghumbicolor

Yinping Jiao, Gloria Burow, Nicholas Gladman, Veronica Acosta-Martinez, Junping Chen, John Burke, Doreen Ware, Zhanguo Xin

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33 Scopus citations


Sorghum(Sorghumbicolor Moench, L.) plant accumulates copious layers of epi-cuticular wax (EW) on its aerial surfaces, to a greater extent than most other crops. EW provides a vapor barrier that reduces water loss, and is therefore considered to be a major determinant of sorghum’s drought tolerance. However, little is known about the genes responsible for wax accumulation in sorghum. We isolated two allelic mutants, bloomless40-1 (bm40-1) and bm40-2, from a mutant library constructed from ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) treated seeds of an inbred, BTx623. Both mutants were nearly devoid of the EW layer. Each bm mutant was crossed to the un-mutated BTx623 to generated F2 populations that segregated for the bm phenotype. Genomic DNA from 20 bm F2 plants from each population was bulked for whole genome sequencing. A single gene, Sobic.001G228100, encoding a GDSL-like lipase/acylhydrolase, had unique homozygous mutations in each bulked F2 population. Mutant bm40-1 harbored a missense mutation in the gene, whereas bm40-2 had a splice donor site mutation. Our findings thus provide strong evidence that mutation in this GDSL-like lipase gene causes the bm phenotype, and further demonstrate that this approach of sequencing two independent allelic mutant populations is an efficient method for identifying causal mutations. Combined with allelic mutants, MutMap provides powerful method to identify all causal genes for the large collection of bm mutants in sorghum, which will provide insight into how sorghum plants accumulate such abundant EW on their aerial surface. This knowledge may facilitate the development of tools for engineering drought-tolerant crops with reduced water loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2267
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Jan 12 2018


  • Bloomless
  • Cutin synthase
  • Epicuticular wax
  • Mutation mapping
  • Sorghumbicolor


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