Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 26, 2013
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sugarcane is a genetically complex crop that is derived from hybridization between different species. The basic breeding program at the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, LA strives, through traditional breeding, to move valuable traits from wild species into commercial sugarcane germplasm. This is a very long-term process, and can take up to 30 years, but since the program was established in the 1960s, there is now a steady pipeline of genetically enhanced parental material from the basic breeding program. Wild species are being used to enhance genetic diversity, and breed for plants adapted to biotic (insect, disease) and abiotic (cold, drought, etc.) stress. Current areas of research focus are cold tolerance, ratooning ability, insect and disease resistance, and residue and flood tolerance. The program has proven successful, with most major Louisiana varieties having roots in basic breeding. It will continue to contribute to the success of the Louisiana sugarcane industry and other breeding programs around the world.