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Title: Biotechnology: Impact on sugarcane agriculture and industry

item Pan, Yong-Bao

Submitted to: International Conference on Sugar and Integrated Industries
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/10/2012
Publication Date: 2/3/2012
Citation: Pan, Y.-B. 2012. Biotechnology: Impact on sugarcane agriculture and industry. International Association of Professionals in Sugar and Integrated Technologies Conference (IAPSIT) International Sugar Conference (IS-2011), New Delhi, India, November 21 - 25, 2011. Available online. Sugar Tech (Jan-Mar 2012). 14(1):1-2. DOI: 10.1007/S12355-012-0136-2.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Of the nine key technology issues that affect the sustainability of the sugar- or bio-energy- cane industry, namely: land, fertility, water, variety, planting density, crop protection, cultural practices, harvesting and processing, and lately, information technology, growing the right varieties remains the top-most issue. While it is the duty of conventional sugarcane breeders to produce good varieties, biotechnologists can contribute to the variety development process (crossing, selection, and evaluation) through the application of molecular breeding tools. Sugarcane breeding is probably the most difficult job of any crop as it takes 12 to 14 years to develop a new variety. This is because sugarcane varieties are highly polyploidy inter-specific hybrids with 100 to 130 chromosomes that vary across geographical areas. Other obstacles/constraints include the small size of flowers that may not synchronize but may self pollinate, difficulty in distinguishing hybrids from selfs, extreme G x E effect, and potential variety mis-identification during vegetative propagation and varietal exchange. To help cane breeders circumvent these constraints, applied biotechnology research was initiated in 1994 at the USDA-ARS, Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, LA in areas of molecular evaluation of germplasm, species- and trait-specific (SCAR, QTL) DNA markers, genetic linkage maps, transgenic (GMO) sugarcane, and a molecular identity database, which is the focus of this presentation. Since 2005, microsatellite (SSR) DNA marker-based molecular identities have been constructed for over 1,500 clones of sugarcane and related Saccharum spp. clones that cover geographical areas including Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, India, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, U.S. (Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Hawaii), and Venezuela. The molecular identity database has been utilized to: 1) provide molecular descriptors to variety registration articles; 2) identify and remove mis-labeled clones; 3) develop de novo clones of energy cane with S. spontaneum cytoplasm; 4) determine the paternity of polycross progeny; 5) determine genetic relatedness of parental clones; 6) assess cross fidelity; 7) Identify F1 hybrids from (elite x wild) or (wild x elite) crosses; and 8) investigate inheritance of SSR markers in sugarcane.