Submitted to: Inter-American Sugar Cane Seminars Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/6/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In 1964, a basic breeding program was established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, Louisiana with the objective of broadening the genetic base of sugarcane. In 1991 and 1993, three cultivars were released from this program: 1)LCP 85-384 which occupies over 70% of the total planted area in Louisiana and is resistant to SCMV, 2)LHo 83-153 which is resistant to SCMV, and 3)HoCP 85-845 which is moderately resistant. In an attempt to increase the diversity of wild germplasm used in the breeding program, more recently introduced clones of Saccharum spp. and Erianthus spp. were screened for resistance to SCMV and Ustilago scitaminea, the fungus that causes smut. Clones with multiple disease resistance were incorporated as parents into the basic breeding program. Sugarcane researchers in Hawaii have reported impressive plant vigor and disease resistance including eyespot and leaf scald among BC1 progeny of S. spontaneum originating in the highlands of Thailand. Geneti variability among selfed progeny of 33 S. spontaneum clones is currently being evaluated at Houma for resistance to leaf scald, mosaic, smut, and ratoon stunting disease. Although biparental crosses between elite clones will continue to be the primary source of progeny for new cultivar development in the future, the basic breeding program will be an important source of new germplasm having resistance to the major sugarcane diseases and possessing other desirable traits.