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Reciprocal gene flow between cultivated sugarcane hybrids and Brazilian species of the genus Saccharum

Grant number: 13/22255-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2014
Effective date (End): January 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy
Principal Investigator:Giancarlo Conde Xavier Oliveira
Grantee:Eduardo de Andrade Bressan
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Sugarcane is a major agro-energy crop in the world, where the hybrids used for cultivation come from interbreeding of some of the species of the genus Saccharum. Currently, breeding programs and biotechnology companies use the methods of intergeneric crosses and genetic transformation to increase the genetic base of cultivated hybrids, thus adding features of interest. However, before the genetically modified cultivars reach the market, it is essential that they go through a rigorous process of risk assessment, of a multidisciplinary nature, to evaluate the real potential impact on the environment and food safety aspects. The use of techniques such as microsatellites and, more recently, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), has enabled the generation of data that allow the exploration of issues related to kinship, reproduction, genomic selection and conservation biology to determine the structure and diversity of populations without prior knowledge of the genome. This project aims to obtain information on risk assessment, focusing on the potential occurrence of gene flow between the hybrids and the native species of the genus Saccharum. This study is based on neutral markers and genes under selection through the development of microsatellite genotyping and sequencing (Genotyping by Sequencing - GBS). The information generated could potentially help in the characterization and the conservation biology of the genus Saccharum in Brazil, besides the assessment of the potential occurrence of direct and indirect gene flow between commercial sugar cane cultivars and the native species in Brazil, thus measuring any real or potential possibility for gene escape that might impact the environment and food security. (AU)

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