Sorghum and maize are major cereal crops worldwide and key food security crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. The difference in the mating systems, maize as predominantly a cross-fertilizer and sorghum as a self-fertilizer is reflected in differences in visible phenotypic and genotypic variations. The reproductive differences dictate the level of genetic variation present in the two crops. Conventionally, a heterotic group assignment is made based on phenotypic values estimated through combining ability and heterosis analyses. However, phenotypic evaluation methods have their limitation due to the influence of the environment and may not reflect the heterotic pattern of the lines accurately. Therefore, more effective and complementary methods have been proposed for heterotic grouping of candidate lines. Estimation of molecular-based genetic distance has proven to be a useful tool to describe existing heterotic groups, to identify new heterotic groups, and to assign inbreds into heterotic groups. Among the molecular markers, microsatellites markers have proved to be a powerful tool for analyzing genetic diversity and for classifying inbred lines into heterotic groups. Therefore, the aim of this chapter was to elucidate the use of microsatellite markers in genetic diversity analysis and heterotic grouping of sorghum and maize.
Part of the book: Microsatellite Markers