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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Canal Point, Florida » Sugarcane Field Station » Research » Research Project #445016

Research Project: Developing Improved Sugarcane Cultivars using Conventional and Molecular Breeding

Location: Sugarcane Field Station

Project Number: 6030-21000-007-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 12, 2023
End Date: Mar 11, 2028

1. Develop high quality seeds for Florida and Louisiana Sugar Industry and to breed superior sugarcane cultivars for the U.S. sugar industry, including improved sugarcane production in organic and mineral soils in Florida. Objective 2. Determine agronomic, physiological, and genetic characters of sugarcane and their correlations across genotypes in response to growth environment to improve quality of crosses and efficiency of selection in sugarcane breeding. 2.A: Compare and determine methodologies that improve selection efficiency and maximize genetic gains in the Canal Point sugarcane breeding programs (CP programs). 2.B: Utilize agronomic, growth, and physiological traits to estimate sugarcane yield and yield components. 2.C: Characterize sugarcane flowering behavior based on plant hormone and develop methodologies to synchronize flowering and to produce seed with a wide range of germplasm in CP breeding programs. 2.D: Determine cold tolerance and yield potentials in sugarcane genotypes with different genetic background. Objective 3: Develop molecular markers and better understand molecular and genetic bases of high sucrose content, and high biomass yield in sugarcane germplasm. 3.A: Creating catalog of sugar metabolism genes.

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 (Figure 1). 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.