Functional genomics for enhanced sugar accumulation in sugarcane : final report CPI002
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Improvement in CCS of sugarcane would provide considerable benefits to the whole sugar industry by improving profitability via enhanced efficiencies in both sugarcane and raw sugar production. Improvements in CCS bring benefits by increasing sugar input to mills with no new costs in cane growing, harvesting and transport and enhanced sugar output with only moderate changes in the sugar milling process. Despite the economic attractions of the CCS plant trait for plant improvement there has been little progress made in improving CCS in released varieties in the past forty years and new approaches are needed. One new approach to breeding high CCS sugarcane varieties is to use DNA markers to select for diverse attributes that contribute to CCS and combine these attributes to produce improved varieties. The CCS trait is complex and involves many genes and a range of plant functions. A key contributor to high CCS is sucrose accumulation and the aim of this project was to identify sugarcane genes that are associated with high levels of sucrose accumulation. These genes provide an input to further research where the CCS trait is being mapped on the sugarcane genome and genes identified in CPI002 are tested as markers. Ultimately, benefits to growers will accrue through the use of these markers in the breeding program to select improved varieties.