Breeding disease-resistant sugarcane now a possibility with unlocking of sugarcane genome

sugarcane

For centuries, sugarcane has supplied human societies with alcohol, biofuel, building and weaving materials, and the world’s most relied-upon source of sugar. Now, researchers have extracted a sweet scientific prize from sugarcane: its massive and complex genome sequence, which may lead to the development of hardier and more productive cultivars.

Producing the comprehensive sequence required a concerted effort by over 100 scientists from 16 institutions; the work took five years and culminated in a publication in Nature Genetics.

The complete genome sequence was well worth the wait and the effort because of its potential to aid the effort to improve sugarcane. The sugarcane grown by most farmers is a hybrid of two species: Saccharum officinarum, which grows large plants with high sugar content, and Saccharum spontaneum, whose lesser size and sweetness is offset by increased disease resistance and tolerance of environmental stress.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lacking a complete genome sequence, plant breeders have made high-yielding, robust strains through generations of crossing and selection, but this is an arduous process relying on time and luck.

Read full, original article: Success is sweet: Researchers unlock the mysteries of the sugarcane genome

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

Infographic: Deaths from COVID-19 are far higher than reported estimates

More than 2.8 million people have lost their lives due to the pandemic, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend