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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Canal Point, Florida » Sugarcane Field Station » Research » Research Project #434368

Research Project: Development of High-Yielding, Stress Tolerant Sugarcane Cultivars Using Agronomic, Genetic, and Molecular Approaches

Location: Sugarcane Field Station

Project Number: 6030-21000-006-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 12, 2018
End Date: Mar 11, 2023

1. Develop sugarcane breeding populations with high quality seed for use in Florida and Louisiana, and select and advance elite clones to produce and release improved sugarcane cultivars for sustainable production in Florida. 2. Characterize abiotic and biotic stress tolerance of sugarcane breeding populations to determine agronomic, physiological, and genetic relationships, and use the information in breeding programs to improve efficiency of selection methodologies. 2.A. Develop physiological and agronomic methodologies to screen yield components of sugarcane clones for tolerance to flowering characteristics. 2.B. Compare and determine methodologies that improve selection efficiency and maximize genetic gains in the Canal Point sugarcane breeding programs. 2.C. Develop and compare physiological testing and genetic x environmental interactions for sugarcane and its relatives, to determine abiotic tolerance and yield potentials that can be used for both sugarcane and biomass yield advancement. 3. Elucidate the molecular and genetic bases of disease resistance, low temperature stress, high sucrose content, and high biomass yield, develop molecular markers, and use molecular markers to screen germplasm and progenies for stress tolerance, yield, and quality. 3.A. Develop and test genomic prediction models for clonal and parental selection for disease resistance, biomass yield, and sucrose content. 3.B. Identify and screen sugarcane and its relative germplasm for freeze damage and cold tolerance. Utilize genotypic sequencing and phenotypic screening to ascertain putative associative markers linking abiotic tolerance and yield response with specific genetic loci. 3.C. Develop molecular markers for sugarcane disease resistance and high sucrose concentration. 3.D. Development and utilization of 100K single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array in Saccharum Spp.

The primary goal of this project is to improve yields and profits of Florida sugarcane growers by developing more productive and profitable cultivars with improved resistance and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Most research in genetics, agronomy, crop physiology, and molecular biology focuses on improving the breeding and selection of cultivars to yield more on muck and sand soils and have tolerance or durable resistance to diseases and abiotic stresses. This process will be enhanced through improved knowledge of classic and molecular genetics, identification of important traits for selection, and selection methodologies. A portion of the research aims to improve yields through modified agronomic practices. Specific efforts may focus on developing improved cultivars with disease resistance and high sucrose concentration using different approaches, especially our new sand-soil program and this may include the pursuit of links between traditional efforts to breed for increased sucrose yields and newer programs that use sugarcane and related species for cellulosic ethanol and enhanced evaluations of the genotypes. The scientists at Canal Point are expected to interact with each other and with colleagues at the University of Florida in Gainesville and its Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, and with other public and private industry scientists in Florida and Louisiana, Texas, and other areas. Over the next 5 years, we will focus on our specific objectives.