• G. D. BonnettEmail author
  • R. J. Henry


The genus Saccharum contains only a few species, may be as few as two, as the status of four others, potentially within Saccharum officinarum, is not resolved. The members of the genus are polyploid with very large genomes. Whilst exploitation of naturally occurring clones has occurred over thousands of years, breeding and selection has a history of only 120 years. Sugarcane supplies two-thirds of the world’s sucrose and is the second most important crop for production of biofuel. The initial genetic base of modern sugarcane hybrids was very narrow; however, subsequent introgressions are increasing the range of Saccharum spontaneum germplasm incorporated. This is facilitated by the assembly (and maintenance) of several large collections of germplasm around the world. Further collection need to be balanced with exploiting what is already available. New genetic and genomic tools will change the way germplasm is exploited through deployment of markers and identification of alleles of value. Exploitation of the genus for biomass and the energy derived from it will increasingly be a central objective. However, caution needs to be taken when using S. spontaneum, particularly in areas where it is not native as it has become a serious weed in some places.


Quantitative Trait Locus Genetically Modify Cane Sugar Commercial Hybrid World Collection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology Johanna Lemke and Linda Hammond are thanked for assistance in checking the manuscript and Rosanne Casu for critical reading of an earlier draft.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Bioscience PrecinctCSIRO Plant IndustrySt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food InnovationThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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