Start Date: Jul 01, 2011
End Date: Jun 30, 2013
Seed transmissibility of pathogens will be explored by conducting a series of crosses with diseased female clones. Plants will be inoculated with domestic sugar cane disease pathogens, including Leifsonia xyli subsp. xyli (Ratoon Stunting Disease –RSD), Xanthomonas albilineans, (leaf scald), Sugar Cane yellow leaf virus (SCYLV), and Sugar Cane mosaic virus (SCMV), and Sorghum mosaic virus (SrMV), induced to flower, and subsequently crossed to produce seed. In addition, seed will be collected from foreign sources which originated from plants infected with pathogens (e.g. phytoplasma) not found in the United States. Seedlings produced from the infected plants will be grown out and analyzed to determine the likelihood of transmitting disease through sugarcane seed. Seed containing pathogens not presently in the U.S. will be grown out in the federal sugarcane quarantine facility (APHIS) and other APHIS approved greenhouse and lab facilities (ARS) in Beltsville, MD. Seedlings obtained from crosses of pathogen infected parents will be analyzed using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or PCR analysis for the detection of disease pathogens and determination of transmission rates. If it is determined that the risk of transmission is low, steps will be taken to change APHIS regulations to allow importation of foreign seed and will alleviate industry fears regarding the introduction of exotic diseases. Ultimately, the importation of foreign seed will allow the United States access to germplasm containing valuable traits for use in domestic sugarcane breeding programs.