Submitted to: Interamerican Sugar Cane Seminars
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Since mid-1980s, biotechnology has made much progress in the production of many agricultural crops including sugarcane. Biotech-related research projects were initiated in 1994 at the USDA-ARS facility and have had significant impact on sugarcane breeding and protection programs. For sugarcane breeding, the biotechnology projects have produced several DNA markers that are being used to assist in sugarcane germplasm evaluation an progeny selection. Progress also is being made towards the production of genetically modified sugarcane varieties with acquired resistance to either herbicide bialaphos or sugarcane mosaic virus infection. In addition, transfer of genetic material from wild relatives into elite sugarcane varieties are being attempted using biotechnology methods where intergenic crosses have not been successful. In the new millennium, development of more molecular markers and production of more transgenic sugarcane are expected. However, transgenic sugarcane varieties will need to be thoroughly tested before being used in sugarcane breeding and production. More collaborations are expected to develop among breeders, agronomists, geneticists, pathologists, entomologists and physiologists to work on biotech projects such as the identification, cloning, and molecular characterization of genes that provide resistance to important sugarcane pests and diseases and the genetic engineering of sucrose metabolic pathways. The potential negative effect of genetically modified sugarcane on the productivity of sugarcane industry will also be addressed.