W080 Genomic Tools for Cane Wide Hybrids as Energy Feedstock

Date: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Time: 4:40 PM
Room: Pacific Salon 2
Jorge A. Da Silva , Texas AgriLife Research Weslaco, Texas A&M University System, Weslaco, TX
Jong-Won Park , Texas AgriLife Research, Weslaco, TX
Sugarcane is a historically important commodity crop of tropical and sub-tropical regions, today contributing approximately 60% of the world’s total raw sugar.  It is among the most efficient crops on the planet in terms of photosynthesis and converting solar energy into biomass.   Being polyploid, sugarcane is very prolific and can be crossed with species of different genera, such as Erianthus, Miscanthus, Sclerostachya, Narenga and Sorghum. Combining favorable traits from each of these species into a common genotype would certainly be desirable.   Cane crops including miscanthus and erianthus can have a broad climactic range, indicating that there is sufficient genetic diversity within the group to bring forth and exploit useful traits such as cold and drought tolerance, composition, and of course biomass productivity.  Molecular techniques bring the potential to facilitate the process of increasing biomass and sugar productivity of commercial varieties, by tagging novel alleles representing natural sources of biodiversity.  The introgression of such alleles would enrich the narrow genetic basis of sugarcane. The current study utilized the fully sequenced sorghum genomic information to design markers targeting genes encoding enzymes involved in the lignin biosynthetic pathway.