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ARS Home » Midwest Area » East Lansing, Michigan » Sugarbeet and Bean Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #350392

Research Project: Genetic Dissection of Traits for Sugar Beet Improvement

Location: Sugarbeet and Bean Research

Title: Sugar beet breeding

Author
item Mcgrath, J Mitchell - Mitch
item Panella, Leonard

Submitted to: Plant Breeding Reviews
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2018
Publication Date: 1/3/2019
Citation: McGrath, J.M., Panella, L.W. 2019. Sugar beet breeding. In: Panella, L.W., editor. Plant Breeding Reviews. Volume 42. Somerset, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 167-218.

Interpretive Summary: Sugar beet is a recent crop developed for extraction of sugar. Breeding of sugar beet has a rich history. Sugar beet originated from fodder beet in the 1800s, and selection has increased sugar content from 4 to 6% then to over 18% today. Development of vegetable beets, namely table beet and leaf beet (chard), predate the creation of sugar beet. Each of these likely shares a common ancestor. Beets of all crop types share common disease pressures. Genomics and molecular markers are rapidly improving understanding of the genetic characters insugar beet. Such understanding may allow expansion of the range of sugar beet cultivation and improve yield. Developing beets for new uses, as an energy resource and for bio-based industrial feedstocks, for instance, may further expand the range of beet production for human uses.

Technical Abstract: Sugar beet is a recent crop developed solely for extraction of the sweetener sucrose. Breeding and improvement of Beta vulgaris for sugar has a rich historical record. Sugar beet originated from fodder beet in the 1800s, and selection has increased sugar content from 4 to 6% then to over 18% today. Development of vegetable beets, namely table beet and leaf beet (chard), predate the creation of sugar beet. Each of these likely shares a common ancestor in the wild relative Beta vulgaris spp. maritima. Beets of all crop types share common disease pressures. Germplasm for breeding and improvement, mostly for disease resistance, is accessible from each of the crop types and wild relatives as there are no barriers to sexual hybridization. All cultivated types are biennial with basic chromosome number of nine, and most new cultivars are diploid. The majority of sugar beets are hybrids, facilitated by a complex system of cytoplasmic male sterility. Hybrids are typically monogerm which reduces the labor required for thinning. Genomics and molecular markers are rapidly improving understanding of the genetic characters controlling sugar beet phenotypes, particularly an understanding of bolting. Such understanding may allow expansion of the range of sugar beet cultivation as well as improve yield through earlier planting. Developing beets for new uses, as an energy resource and for bio-based industrial feedstocks for instance, may further expand the range of beet production for human uses.