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posted on 19.03.2018 by Xiping Yang, Md. S. Islam, Sushma Sood, Stephanie Maya, Erik A. Hanson, Jack Comstock, Jianping Wang

Sugarcane (Saccharum spp.) is an important economic crop, contributing up to 80% of table sugar used in the world and has become a promising feedstock for biofuel production. Sugarcane production has been threatened by many diseases, and fungicide applications for disease control have been opted out for sustainable agriculture. Orange rust is one of the major diseases impacting sugarcane production worldwide. Identifying quantitative trait loci (QTLs) and developing diagnostic markers are valuable for breeding programs to expedite release of superior sugarcane cultivars for disease control. In this study, an F1 segregating population derived from a cross between two hybrid sugarcane clones, CP95-1039 and CP88-1762, was evaluated for orange rust resistance in replicated trails. Three QTLs controlling orange rust resistance in sugarcane (qORR109, qORR4 and qORR102) were identified for the first time ever, which can explain 58, 12 and 8% of the phenotypic variation, separately. We also characterized 1,574 sugarcane putative resistance (R) genes. These sugarcane putative R genes and simple sequence repeats in the QTL intervals were further used to develop diagnostic markers for marker-assisted selection of orange rust resistance. A PCR-based Resistance gene-derived maker, G1 was developed, which showed significant association with orange rust resistance. The putative QTLs and marker developed in this study can be effectively utilized in sugarcane breeding programs to facilitate the selection process, thus contributing to the sustainable agriculture for orange rust disease control.