Crop-to-weed introgression has impacted allelic composition of johnsongrass populations with and without recent exposure to cultivated sorghum

Authors

  • P. L. MORRELL,

    1. Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602,
    2. Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474
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    • §

      Present address: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine 92697–2525.

  • T. D. WILLIAMS-COPLIN,

    1. Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602,
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  • A. L. LATTU,

    1. Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474
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  • J. E. BOWERS,

    1. Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602,
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  • J. M. CHANDLER,

    1. Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474
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  • A. H. PATERSON

    Corresponding author
    1. Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602,
    2. Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474
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Andrew H. Paterson, Fax: (706) 583-0160; E-mail: paterson@uga.edu.

Abstract

Sorghum halepense L. (johnsongrass) is one of the world's most noxious weeds, and a paradigm for the potential dangers of crop–weed hybridization. Introduced into the southeastern United States about 200 years ago, S. halepense is a close relative of cultivated sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). Both artificial crossing and experimental field studies have demonstrated the potential for S. halepense×S. bicolor hybrid formation, but no prior study has addressed the long-term persistence of sorghum genes in johnsongrass populations. We surveyed 283 loci (on all 10 sorghum linkage groups) to identify 77 alleles at 69 loci that are found in US sorghum cultivars but are absent from a worldwide sampling of johnsongrass genotypes. These putatively cultivar-specific alleles were present in up to 32.3% of individuals in johnsongrass populations adjacent to long-term sorghum production fields in Texas and Nebraska. Lower frequencies of cultivar-specific alleles at smaller numbers of loci are found in johnsongrass populations from New Jersey and Georgia with no recent exposure to cultivated sorghum, suggesting that introgressed sorghum alleles may be dispersed across long distances. The number of cultivar-specific alleles and extensive multilocus patterns of cultivar-specific allelic composition observed at both linked and unlinked loci in the johnsongrass populations, are inconsistent with alternatives to introgression such as convergence, or joint retention of ancestral polymorphisms. Naturalized johnsongrass populations appear to provide a conduit by which transgenes from sorghum could become widely disseminated.

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