Genetic diversity and population structure analysis of accessions in the US historic sweet sorghum collection.
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Sweet sorghum has the potential to become a versatile feedstock for large-scale bioenergy production given its sugar from stem juice, cellulose/hemicellulose from stalks, and starch from grain. However, for researchers to maximize its feedstock potential a first step includes additional evaluations of the 2,180 accessions with varied origins in the US historic sweet sorghum collection. To assess genetic diversity of this collection for bioenergy breeding and population structure for association mapping, we selected 96 accessions and genotyped them with 95 simple sequence repeat markers. Subsequent genetic diversity and population structure analysis methods identified four subpopulations in this panel, which correlated well with the geographic locations where these accessions originated or were collected. Model comparisons for three quantitative traits revealed different levels of population structure effects on flowering time, plant height, and brix. Our results suggest that diverse germplasm accessions curated from different geographical regions should be considered for plant breeding programs to develop sweet sorghum cultivars or hybrids, and that this sweet sorghum panel can be further explored for association mapping.