Sorghum bicolor, commonly called sorghum and also known as great millet,durra, jowari, or milo, is a grass species cultivated for its grain, which is used for food, both for animals and humans, and for ethanol production. Sorghum originated in northern Africa, and is now cultivated widely in tropical and subtropical regions. Sorghum is the world's fifth most important cereal crop after rice, wheat, maize and barley. S. bicolor is typically an annual, but some cultivars are perennial. It grows in clumps that may reach over 4 m high. The grain is small, ranging from 2 to 4 mm in diameter. Sweet sorghums are sorghum cultivars that are primarily grown for foliage, syrup production, and ethanol; they are taller than those grown for grain.
Research is being conducted to develop a genetic cross that will make the plant more tolerant to colder temperatures and to unravel the drought tolerance mechanisms, since it is native to tropical climates In the United States, this is important because the cost of corn is steadily increasing due to its usage in ethanol production for addition to gasoline. Sorghum silage can be used as a replacement of corn silage in the diet for dairy cattle. Other research has shown that a timely harvest of sorghum is essential for a safe feed product. The type of processing is also essential in harvesting the grain's maximum nutrition. Feeding steam-flaked sorghum showed an increase in milk production when compared to dry-rolling. When a grain is steam-flaked, it is cooked slightly, this makes certain nutrients more available to be digested.
The genome assembly of Sorghum bicolor cv. Moench was published in 2009. Sequencing by the US department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) Community Sequencing Program in collaboration with the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory followed a whole genome shotgun strategy reaching 8x coverage with scaffolds, where possible, being assigned to the genetic map.
In PAmiRDB, 241 miRNA from S.bicolor are scanned against viral genomes, in order to get insight into viral genome and miRNA intractions.