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Jackson P.A.,CSIRO | Jackson P.A.,Cooperative Research Center for Sugarcane Innovation Through Biotechnology | Fan Y.-H.,Yunnan Sugarcane Research Institute | Li Q.-W.,Guangzhou Sugar Industry Research Institute | And 7 more authors.
International Sugar Journal | Year: 2011

In 2002 a collaborative program of breeding and research was commenced, aiming to utilise wild germplasm from China for sugarcane improvement in both China and Australia. Some results and recommendations arising from this program to date are reported here. The program aimed to: 1. Characterise genetic diversity in Chinese S. spontaneum and Erianthus arundinaceus; 2. Conduct crossing between Chinese S. spontaneum and Erianthus spp. and sugarcane, and initial evaluation of the resulting progeny; 3. Assess if and how DNA markers can be used to identify genome regions of positive or negative value from wild clones, and to assist in programs aiming to introduce new genes from wild canes into commercial cultivars; 4. To quantify genotype x environment interactions between Australia and China. Results from the genetic diversity studies indicated a high level of genetic diversity in both S. spontaneum and Erianthus arundinaceus in China, and provide a basis for targeted sampling and use of this material in future breeding efforts or for core collections. Two hundred and two crosses from a range of S. spontaneum and Erianthus clones generated viable seeds, and 100 of these crosses have been verified (to date) using DNA markers as producing true hybrids. These results were significant in relation to Erianthus spp. in providing (to our knowledge) the first report of verified fertile Saccharum x Erianthus hybrids in the world, despite many past efforts. Several case study populations derived from S. spontaneum and Erianthus were used for Quantitative Trait loci (QTL) mapping. Several apparently important QTL for cane yield were identified from S. spontaneum. An approach to apply DNA markers in future introgression breeding in sugarcane is recommended, based on the results and experience obtained. Another significant result was the first (to our knowledge) documentation of genotype x country interactions. Somewhat surprisingly, moderate to high (>0.6) genetic correlations in performance of families and clones between trials in China and Australia were observed, despite some contrasting environmental and management conditions. This result supports ongoing collaboration between China and Australia via exchange of selection trial results and selected germplasm.

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