Transformation of Sugarcane

  • R. G. Birch
  • A. Maretzki
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 23)


Modern commercial sugarcane varieties are highly heterozygous, complex polyploid and aneuploid hybrids, often with four different species of Saccharum in their ancestry. Agronomically superior sugarcane cultivars are obtained through a multistage selection scheme over a period of approximately 10 years to identify a few elite clones in very large populations of seedlings. The costs of selection approach $1 million per cultivar from advanced breeding programs. In practice, elite clones may be completely abandoned because of a single fault such as disease susceptibility. Traditional breeding approaches to correct such faults in an existing cultivar are impractical in sugarcane, because of the genetic complexity of cultivars and the long periods needed for each round of selection for some agronomically important traits such as ratooning ability. The capacity to introduce specific genes by genetic engineering, without the major genetic reassortment following crossing, could save the sugarcane industry millions of dollars by rescuing flawed cultivars.


Somatic Embryogenesis Embryogenic Callus Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult Sugarcane Cultivar Microprojectile Bombardment 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahloowalia BS, Maretzki A (1983) Plant regeneration via somatic Embryogenesis in sugarcane. Plant Cell Rep 2:21–25Google Scholar
  2. Birch RG, Frank T (1991) Development and optimization of microprojectile system for plant genetic transformation. Aust J Plant Physiol 18:453–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bonnel E, Demarly Y, Essad S (1983) Évolution anatomique des tissus foliares de canne à sucre (Saccharum sp.) cultivés in vitro. Can J Bot 61:830–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowen B (1992) Markers for plant gene transfer. In : Kung S, Wu R (eds) Transgenic plants; engineering and utilization, vol 1. Academic Press, London, pp 89–119Google Scholar
  5. Bower R, Birch RG (1992) Transgenic sugarcane plants via microprojectile bombardment. Plant J 2:409–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Callis J, Fromm M, Walbot V (1987) Introns increase gene expression in cultured maize cells. Genes Dev 1:1183–1200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen WH, Gartland KMA, Davey MR, Sotak R, Gartland JS, Mulligan BJ, Power JB, Cocking, EC (1987) Transformation of sugarcane protoplasts by direct uptake of a selectable chimaeric gene. Plant Cell Rep 6:297–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen WH, Davey MR, Power JB, Cocking EC (1988) Control and maintenance of plant regeneration in sugarcane callus cultures. J Exp Bot 39:251–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christou P, Swain WF, Yang N-S, McCabe DE (1989) Inheritance and expression of foreign genes in transgenic soybean plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86:7500–7504PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christou P, Ford TL, Kofron M (1991) Production of transgenic rice (Oryza sativa L.) plants from agronomically important indica and japonica varieties via electric discharge particle acceleration of exogenous DNA into immature zygotic embryos. Bio/Technology 9:957–962CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fitch MMM, Moore PH (1990) Comparison of 2,4-D and picloram for selection of long-term totipotent green callus cultures of sugarcane. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 20:157–163Google Scholar
  12. Franks T, Birch RG (1991) Gene transfer into intact sugarcane cells using microprojectile bombardment. Aust J Plant Physiol 18:471–480Google Scholar
  13. Goff SA, Klein TM, Roth BA, Fromm ME, Cone KC, Radicella JP, Chandler VL (1990) Transactivation of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes following transfer of B regulatory genes into maize tissue. EMBO J 9:2517–2522Google Scholar
  14. Gould J, Revey M, Hasegawa O, Ulian EC, Peterson G, Smith RH (1991) Transformation of Zea mays L. using Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the shoot apex. Plant Physiol 95:426–434Google Scholar
  15. Hauptmann RM, Vasil V, Ozias-Akins P, Tabaeizadeh Z, Rogers SG, Fraley RT, Horsch RB, Vasil IK (1988) Evaluation of selectable markers for obtaining stable transformants in the Gramineae. Plant Physiol 86:602–606Google Scholar
  16. Heinz DJ, Krishnamurthi M, Nickell LG, Maretzki A (1977) Cell, tissue and organ culture in sugarcane improvement. In : Reinert J, Bajaj YPS (eds) Applied and fundamental aspects of plant cell, tissue, and organ culture. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 3–17Google Scholar
  17. Ho WJ, Vasil IK (1983a) Somatic embryogenesis in sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) I. The morphology and physiology of callus formation and the ontogeny of somatic embryos. Protoplasma 118:169–180Google Scholar
  18. Ho WJ, Vasil IK (1983b) Somatic embryogenesis in sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.): growth and plant regeneration from embryogenic cell suspension cultures. Ann Bot 51:719–726Google Scholar
  19. Hu C-y, Chee PP, Chesney RH, Zhou JH, Miller PD, O’Brien WT (1990) Intrinsic GUS-like activities in seed plants. Plant Cell Rep 9:1–5Google Scholar
  20. Klein TM, Wolf ED, Wu R, Sanford JC (1987) High velocity microprojectiles for delivering nucleic acids into living cells. Nature 327:70–73Google Scholar
  21. Last DI, Brettel RIS, Chamberlain DA, Chaudhury AM, Larkin PJ, Marsh EL, Peacock WJ, Dennis ES (1990) pEmu: an improved vector for gene expression in cereal cells. Theor Appl Gen 81:581–588Google Scholar
  22. Lee TSG (1987) Micropropagation of sugarcane. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 10:47–55Google Scholar
  23. Liu M-C (1983) Sugarcane. In: Sharp WR, Evans, DA, Ammirato PV, Yamada Y (eds) Handbook of plant cell culture vol 2. Crop species. Macmillan New York pp 572–605Google Scholar
  24. Ludwig SR, Bowen B, Beach L, Wessler SR (1990) A regulatory gene as a novel visible marker for maize transformation. Science 247:449–450Google Scholar
  25. MacKenzie DR, Anderson PM, Wernham CC (1966) A mobile air blast inoculator for plot experiments with maize dwarf mosaic virus. Plant Dis Rep 50:363–367Google Scholar
  26. Maretzki A, Sun SS, Nagai C, Bidney D, Houtchens KA, Delà Cruz A (1990) Development of a transformation system for sugarcane. Abstr VII Int Congr Plant Tissue Cell Culture, June 1990, IAPTC, Amsterdam, p 68Google Scholar
  27. McElroy D, Zhang W, Cao J, Wu R (1990) Isolation of an efficient actin promoter for use in rice transformation. Plant Cell 2:163–171Google Scholar
  28. Nagai C (1986) Micropropagation for sugarcane: laboratory methodology. Proc Annu Meet Hawaii Sugar Technol 46 : A34–A37Google Scholar
  29. Nagel RJ, Manners JM, Birch RG (1992) Evaluation of an ELISA assay for rapid detection and quantification of neomycin phosphotransferase II in transgenic plants. Plant Mol Biol Rep 10:263–272Google Scholar
  30. Oard JH, Paige D, Dvorak J (1989) A Chimeric gene expression using maize intron in cultured cells of breadwheat. Plant Cell Rep 8:156–160Google Scholar
  31. Olsson O, Nilsson O, Koncz C (1990) Engineered luciferase proteins as tools to study plant gene regulation in vivo. J. Biol Chem 5:79–87Google Scholar
  32. Potrykus I (1991) Gene transfer to plants: assessment of published approaches and results. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 42:205–225Google Scholar
  33. Potrykus I (1991) Gene transfer to plants: assessment of published approaches and results. Annu Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol 42:205–225Google Scholar
  34. Rathus C, Birch RG (1992a) Optimization of conditions for electroporation and transient expression of foreign genes in sugarcane protoplasts. Plant Sei 81:65–74Google Scholar
  35. Rathus C, Birch RG (1992b) Stable transformation of callus from electroporated sugarcane protoplasts. Plant Sei 82:81–89Google Scholar
  36. Rathus C, Birch RG (1992b) Stable transformation of callus from electroporated sugarcane protoplasts. Plant Sei 82:81–89Google Scholar
  37. Sanford JC (1988) The biolistic process. Trends Biotechnol 6:299–302Google Scholar
  38. Sanford JC, Klein TM, Wolf ED, Allen N (1987) Delivery of substances into cells and tissues using a particle bombardment process. Part Sei Technol 5:27–37Google Scholar
  39. Sanford JC, Wolf ED, Allen NK (Biolistics inc) (1989) Biolistic apparatus for delivering substances into cells and tissues in a non-lethal manner. US Patent Application 23743/88. Published August 31,1989. Document 161807Google Scholar
  40. Senaratna T, McKersie BD, Kasha KJ, Procunier JD (1991) Direct DNA uptake during the imbibition of dry cells. Plant Sei 79:223–228Google Scholar
  41. Srinivasan C, Vasil IK (1986) Plant regeneration from protoplasts of sugarcane (Saccharum ojficinarum L.). J Plant Physiol 126:41–48Google Scholar
  42. Sun SSM, Maretzki A, Nagai C, Hortchens K, Bidney D (1993) Transformation of sugarcane by particle bombardment. Sugar Cane (in press)Google Scholar
  43. Taylor PWJ, Ko H-L, Adkins SW, Rathus C, Birch RG (1992) Establishment of embryogenic callus and high protoplast yielding suspension cultures of sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids). Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 28:69–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Taylor PWJ, Ko H-L, Adkins SW (1992b) Factors affecting protoplast isolation and the regeneration of shoot-like structures from protoplast-derived callus of sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids). Aust J Bot 40:863–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Thompson CK, Rao Movva N, Tizard R, Crameri R, Davies JE, Lauwereys M, Botterman J (1987) Characterization of the herbicide resistance gene bar from Streptomyces hygroscopicus. EMBO J 6:2519–2523PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Töpfer R, Gronenborn B, Schell J, Steinbiss H-H (1989) Uptake and transient expression of chimeric genes in seed-derived embryos. Plant Cell 1:133–139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Birch
    • 1
  • A. Maretzki
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept of BotanyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Hawaiian Sugar Planters AssociationAieaUSA

Personalised recommendations