Location: Sugarcane ResearchTitle: Sugarcane Author
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2013
Publication Date: 1/1/2014
Citation: Jackson, P., Hale, A.L., Bonnett, G., Lakshamanan, P. 2014. Sugarcane. In: Pratap, A., and Kumar, J.. Alien Gene Transfer in Crop Plants, Volume 2. Achievements and Impacts. New York: Springer. p. 317-345. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Sugarcane is one of the most important crops globally, providing most of the world’s sugar and bio-energy (ethanol and electricity). This contribution has been underpinned by the successful introgression of genes from wild germplasm, particularly from Saccharum spontaneum, by breeders in the early 1900’s. This introgression resulted in a steep change in the vigour, ratoon growth (i.e. re-growth after harvest), and adaptation to adverse environments, compared with the existing S. officinarum varieties. Introgression of other S. spontaneum clones and other species (particularly Erianthus spp. and Miscanthus) related to sugarcane in a range of sugarcane breeding programs around the world is continuing, and based on current reports is expected to continue to contribute incrementally to gains in breeding programs and cultivar performance. However, the low sugar content of most wild relatives means that several cycles of back crossing (to commercial type sugarcane) and interim selection are required, and this makes investment in these programs lengthy, costly, difficult, and risky. Technological advancements in GM research have been impressive in sugarcane with a variety of methods to introduce and express genes in sugarcane now available. So far no commercially successful outcomes of this technology have occurred, but some major programs are currently underway aiming to develop commercial cultivars. Targets include herbicide tolerance, stem borer resistance, and production of foreign compounds (eg. alternative sugars).