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Acta Agronomica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (11): 1735-1745.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2019.94022


Establishment of an accurate evaluation method for drought resistance based on multilevel phenotype analysis in sorghum

ZHANG Xiao-Xiao1,2,PAN Ying-Hong3,REN Fu-Li2,PU Wei-Jun2,WANG Dao-Ping3,LI Yu-Bin2,LU Ping3,LI Gui-Ying3,*(),ZHU Li2,*()   

  1. 1 Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang 621000, Sichuan, China
    2 Institute of Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
    3 Institute of Crop Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
  • Received:2019-02-14 Accepted:2019-05-12 Online:2019-11-12 Published:2019-06-04
  • Contact: Gui-Ying LI,Li ZHU E-mail:liguiying@caas.cn;zhuli01@caas.cn
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Non-profit Scientific Institution(Y2017PT25);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(31471558);the National Key R&D Program of China(2018YFD1000702);the IAEA Coordinated Research Project(D23031)


Drought is one of the important abiotic stresses that restrict agricultural production. Research on drought resistance of crops is of significance in both theoretical and practical aspects. In this study, 73 sorghum accessions were preliminarily evaluated for drought resistance at the germination and seedling stages under simulated drought environment with PEG-6000. Among them, 21 accessions including 15 tolerant and 6 susceptible, were screened to measure the morphological characteristics such as plant height, leaf length and leaf width, and physiological and biochemical indicators such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and peroxidase (POD) activity. Finally, one accession was identified with high drought resistance, one accession was moderate drought resistance and two accessions with drought-sensitivity. A new evaluation method for sorghum drought resistance was established based on the multilevel phenotypic analysis, in which the data from subordinate function method, principal component analysis and clustering analysis were comprehensively applied, and combined with various phenotypic data (morphological, physiological and biochemical indicators) at different growth stages (germination and seedling stages) in different growth environments (field test and laboratory test). This method can be used to systematically, efficiently and accurately identify the drought resistance of sorghum based on the consistency of evaluation results by multiple comparison analysis, which is useful in the research on drought resistance mechanism and sorghum breeding for drought resistance.

Key words: multilevel phenotypic analysis, sorghum, drought resistance, germination stage, seedling stage

Fig. 1

Scheme of multilevel phenotypic analysis methods"

Table 1

Information of 73 sorghum accessions"

D01 Club.S D38 SEM-20-4
D02 IS-8377 D39 SEM-20-5
D03 5933 D40 SEM-28-4
D04 M81-E D41 SEM-30-1
D05 SEM-2-4 D42 SEM-31-4
D06 灯笼红(忻州) Denglonghong (Xinzhou) D43 SEM-32-1
D07 黑暴糯高粱(广南) Heibaonuogaoliang (Guangnan) D44 SEM-32-2
D08 Bird proof kafer #-662 D45 SEM-32-4
D09 矮脚糯(平利) Aijiaonuo (Pingli) D46 SEM-32-5
D10 糯高粱(宁夏) Nuogaoliang (Ningxia) D47 SEM-32-9
D11 糯高粱(柞水) Nuogaoliang (Zuoshui) D48 SEM-32-4
D12 CLUBHEAD-3 D49 SEM-32-5
D13 甜131 Tian 131 D50 SEM-32-9
D14 千斤锤(沁水) Qianjinchui (Qinshui) D51 SEM-38-4
D15 甜选29 Tianxuan 29 D52 SEM-38-7
D16 甜选37 Tianxuan 37 D53 SEM-42-1
D17 甜选129 Tianxuan 129 D54 SEM-44-2
D18 Icsv 219 D55 SEM-54-1
D19 木浦在来种Mupuzailaizhong D56 SEM-54-5
D20 IS-9180 D57 SEM-21-8
D21 10048 D58 SEM-24-6
D22 AIRI-2 D59 SEM-24-7
D23 东北农信糯Dongbeinongxinnuo D60 SEM-30-3
D24 河北糯杂5号Heibeinuoza 5 D61 SEM-49-2
D25 河北糯杂6号Hebeinuoza 6 D62 SEM-49-4
D26 红茅糯2号Hongmaonuo 2 D63 SEM-51-11
D27 山东莱阳糯Shandonglaiyangnuo D64 SEM-53-4
D28 原15B Yuan 15B D65 SEM-53-5
D29 耘糯Yunnuo D66 SEM-53-7
D30 上海甜Shanghaitian D67 SEM-53-10
D31 软高粱(定襄) Ruangaoliang (Dingxiang) D68 SEM-57-4
D32 米高粱(清涧) Migaoliang (Qingjian) D69 SEM-56-8
D33 CP16-1481 D70 SEM-62-5
D34 SEM-8-4 D71 SEM-66-2
D35 SEM-16-10 D72 科甜5号Ketian 5
D36 SEM-17-3 D73 SEM-42-4
D37 SEM-20-2

Fig. 2

Subordinate function value of drought resistance index at germination stage and wilting index level of different sorghum accessions at seedling stage RGP: relative germination potential; RGR: relative germination rate; DGRI: germination drought resistance index; ASFV: average subordinative function value; 1-WI: 1-wilting index level assignment at seedling stage."

Table 2

Comprehensive evaluation of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions at seedling stage based on subordinate function method"

Accession number
Field drought
resistance ranking
Laboratory drought resistance ranking
Accession number
Field drought
resistance ranking
Laboratory drought resistance ranking
D11 1 1 D51 11 16
D16 2 3 D40 13 5
D05 3 15 D04 14 18
D37 4 4 D62 15 6
D41 5 19 D24 16 14
D43 6 17 D60 17 11
D18 7 8 D42 18 10
D19 8 7 D22 19 2
D49 9 20 D53 20 21
D14 10 9 D65 21 13
D10 11 12

Fig. 3

Comprehensive evaluation of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions at seedling stage based on principal component analysis A: comprehensive scores of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions in field test; B: comprehensive scores of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions in laboratory test."

Fig. 4

Evaluation of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions at seedling stage based on clustering analysis A: clustering analysis results of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions in field test; B: clustering analysis results of drought resistance of 21 sorghum accessions in laboratory test."

Fig. 5

Comparison of differences in multilevel phenotypic analysis results of different sorghum drought resistance A: comparison of differences in multilevel phenotypic analysis results between by different methods and in different growth environments; B: comparison of differences in multilevel phenotypic analysis results of sorghum drought resistance under different growth environments. a: comparison between the results of the subordinate function method and the principal component analysis method under field test conditions; b: comparison between the results of the subordinate function method and the principal component analysis method under laboratory test conditions; c: comparison between the results of the principal component analysis in field and laboratory test; d: comparison the results of subordinate function methods between in field and in laboratory test; e: comparison the results between subordinate function method in field test and principal component analysis in laboratory test . The solid lines (0.5 and 1.0) were used as the reference lines for the difference values of c and d to evaluate the differences in the results of multilevel phenotypic analysis with the same analysis method in different growth environments; the dotted lines (1.20 and 1.75) and the solid line (1.5) are used as reference for the e difference value, which is used to assess the difference between the results of subordinate function in field test and the results of the principal component analysis in laboratory test."

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