Comparative genome mapping of Sorghum and maize.
R Whitkus, J Doebley, M Lee


Linkage relationships were determined among 85 maize low copy number nuclear DNA probes and seven isozyme loci in an F2 population derived from a cross of Sorghum bicolor ssp. bicolor x S. bicolor ssp. arundinaceum. Thirteen linkage groups were defined, three more than the 10 chromosomes of sorghum. Use of maize DNA probes to produce the sorghum linkage map allowed us to make several inferences concerning processes involved in the evolutionary divergence of the maize and sorghum genomes. The results show that many linkage groups are conserved between these two genomes and that the amount of recombination in these conserved linkage groups is roughly equivalent in maize and sorghum. Estimates of the proportions of duplicated loci suggest that a larger proportion of the loci are duplicated in the maize genome than in the sorghum genome. This result concurs with a prior estimate that the nuclear DNA content of maize is three to four times greater than that of sorghum. The pattern of conserved linkages between maize and sorghum is such that most sorghum linkage groups are composed of loci that map to two maize chromosomes. This pattern is consistent with the hypothesized ancient polyploid origin of maize and sorghum. There are nine cases in which locus order within shared linkage groups is inverted in sorghum relative to maize. These may have arisen from either inversions or intrachromosomal translocations. We found no evidence for large interchromosomal translocations. Overall, the data suggest that the primary processes involved in divergence of the maize and sorghum genomes were duplications (either by polyploidy or segmental duplication) and inversions or intrachromosomal translocations.