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Sugarcane breeding in Reunion: Challenges, achievements and future prospects

Dumont T., Barau L., Thong-Chane A., Dijoux J., Mellin M., Daugrois J.H., Hoarau J.Y.. 2021. Sugar Tech : 12 p..

DOI: 10.1007/s12355-021-00998-0

All over the world, sugarcane breeding programs are developing new, high-yielding cultivars that are resistant to major diseases to improve the profitability and sustainability of the sugar-energy industries they serve. In Reunion Island, sugarcane genetic improvement efforts began in 1929. Many challenges had to be overcome. Continuous breeding efforts have been made to develop varietal resistances to control some major diseases and are still going on today. Given the extreme agroclimatic diversity that characterizes the different production areas of the industry, it was necessary to gradually develop a large network of seven decentralized breeding programs to support genetic progress throughout the whole industry. This article provides an overview of the sugarcane breeding program of Reunion. It describes historical achievements and gives detailed information about germplasm development, variety exchanges, breeding program and selection scheme and procedures. A review is also made on applied genetics research activities supporting variety improvement. Further progress depends on the optimized functioning of the current breeding program, which has never been so largely extended in terms of target environments. The article discusses prospects of genomics breeding applications in the complex genetic context of sugarcane, which will require large multidisciplinary collaborations.

Mots-clés : amélioration des plantes; amélioration génétique; saccharum officinarum; canne à sucre; sélection; variété; résistance aux maladies; réunion; france; programme d¿amélioration

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