Skip to main content Accessibility help

Geographical patterns of phenotypic diversity and structure of Kenyan wild sorghum populations (Sorghum spp.) as an aid to germplasm collection and conservation strategy

  • Moses M. Muraya (a1) (a2), Hartwig H. Geiger (a1), Evans Mutegi (a3) (a4), Ben M. Kanyenji (a5), Fabrice Sagnard (a6) (a3), Santie M. de Villiers (a3), Dan Kiambi (a3) and Heiko K. Parzies (a1)...


Kenya lies within sorghum centre of diversity. However, information on the relative extent of diversity patterns within and among genetically defined groups of distinct ecosystems is lacking. The objective was to assess the structure and phenotypic diversity of wild sorghum populations across a range of geographical and ecological conditions in the country. Sixty-two wild sorghum populations (30 individuals per population) sampled from four distinct sorghum growing regions of Kenya and covering different agroecologies were characterized for ten qualitative traits. Plant height, number of tillers, panicle sizes and flag leaf dimensions were also recorded. Frequencies of the phenotypic classes of each character were calculated. The Shannon diversity index (H′) was used to estimate the magnitude of diversity. Principal component analysis was used to differentiate populations within and between regions. Wild sorghum is widely distributed in Kenya, occurring in sympatric ranges with cultivated sorghum, and both have overlapping flowering windows. All characters considered displayed great phenotypic diversity. Pooled over characters within regions, the mean H′ ranged between 0.60 and 0.93 in Western and Coast regions, respectively. Wild sorghum was found to show a weak regional differentiation, probably reflecting the importance of seed-mediated gene flow in shaping the wild sorghum population structure. Trait distribution was variable among regions, but there was no conspicuous distribution of the traits studied in any given region. Spontaneous hybridization and introgression of genes from cultivated to wild sorghum seems to be likely, and may already have occurred for a long time, although undocumented. Implications for in situ and ex situ genetic resources conservation are discussed.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Hide All
Bapat, DR and Mote, UN (1982) Sources of shoot fly resistance in Sorghum. Journal of the Maharashtra Agricultural University 7: 238240.
Bruschi, P, Vendramin, GG, Bussotti, F and Grossoni, P (2003) Morphological and molecular diversity among Italian population of Quercus petraea (Fagaceae). Annals of Botany 91: 707716.
Dahlberg, JA (2000) Classification and characterisation of sorghum. In: Smith, CW and Frideriksen, RA (eds) Origin, History, Technology and Production. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 99130.
De Wet, JMJ (1977) Domestication of African cereals. African Economy History 3: 1532.
De Wet, JMJ (1978) Systematics and evolution of Sorghum Sect. Sorghum (Gramineae). American Journal of Botany 65: 477484.
De Wet, JMJ and Harlan, JR (1971) The origin and domestication of Sorghum bicolor. Economic Botany 25: 128135.
Dillon, SL, Shapter, FM, Henry, RJ, Cordeiro, G, Izquierdo, L and Lee, LS (2007) Domestication to crop improvement: genetic resources for Sorghum and Saccharum (Andropogoneae). Annals of Botany 100: 975989.
Doggett, H (1988) Sorghum. 2nd ed. London: Longman.
Duvall, MR and Doebley, JF (1990) Restriction site variation in the chloroplast genome of Sorghum (Poaceae). Systematic Botany 15: 472480.
Franzmann, BA and Hardy, AT (1996) Testing the host status of Australian indigenous sorghums for the sorghum midge. In: Foale, MA, Henzell, RG and Kneip, JF (eds) Proceedings of the Third Australian Sorghum Conference. Tamworth, NSW, Australia. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Agricultural Science, pp. 365367.
Harlan, JR and de Wet, JMJ (1972) A simplified classification of cultivated sorghum. Crop science 12: 172176.
Hutchenson, K (1970) A test for comparing diversities based on the Shannon formula. Journal of Theoretical Biology 29: 151154.
IBPGR/ICRISAT (1993) Descriptors for sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench). Rome/Patancheru: International Board of Plant Genetic Resources/International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics.
Kamala, V, Singh, SD, Bramel, PJ and Rao, DM (2002) Sources of resistance to downy mildew in wild and weedy sorghums. Crop Science 42: 13571360.
Karunakar, RI, Narayana, YD, Pande, S, Mughogho, LK and Singh, SD (1994) Evaluation of wild and weedy sorghums for downy mildew resistance. International Sorghum and Millets Newsletter 35: 104106.
Komolong, B, Chakraborty, S, Ryley, M and Yates, D (2002) Identify and genetic diversity of the sorghum ergot pathogen in Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 53: 621628.
Mann, JA, Kimber, CT and Miller, FR (1983) The origin and early cultivation of sorghums in Africa. Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin: 1454.
Murty, BR, Arunachalam, V and Saxena, MBL (1967) Classification and catalogue of old collection of sorghum. Indian Journal of Genetics 27: 1394.
Price, HJ, Dillon, SL, Hodnett, G, Rooney, WL, Ross, L and Johnston, JS (2005) Genome evolution in the genus Sorghum (Poaceae). Annals of Botany 95: 219227.
Rich, PJ, Grenier, C and Ejeta, G (2004) Striga resistance in the wild relatives of sorghum. Crop Science 44: 22212229.
Rooney, WL and Smith, CW (2000) Techniques for developing new cultivars. In: Smith, CW and Frederiksen, RA (eds) Sorghum: Origin, History Technology, and Production. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Rosenow, DT and Dahlberg, JA (2000) Collection, conversion, and utilization of sorghum. In: Smith, CW and Frederiksen, RA (eds) Sorghum: Origin, History Technology, and Production. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
SAS Institute (2004) The SAS System for Windows, Version 9.1 Cary, NC: The SAS Institute.
Sharma, HC and Fransmann, BA (2001) Host-plant preference and oviposition responses of the sorghum midge, Stenodiplosis sorghicola (Coquillett) (Dipt., Cecidomyiidae) towards wild relatives of sorghum. Journal of Applied Entomology 125: 109114.
Smith, WC and Frideriksen, RA (2000) Origin, History, Technology and Production. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Snowden, JD (1955) The wild fodder Sorghum of the section Eusorghum. Journal of the Linnean Society of London: Botany 55: 191260.
Workeye, F (2002) Morphological and biochemical diversity in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) landraces of Ethiopia MSc Thesis, Addis Ababa.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Muraya supplementary material
Muraya supplementary material

 Word (156 KB)
156 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed