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Agronomic performance and transmission of the multiple-bud mutation of sugarcane

Burner, D.M., Legendre, B.L.
Crop science 1998 v.38 no.4 pp. 928-932
height, plant characteristics, Saccharum, plant morphology, buds, shoots, yield components, germination, cultivars, field experimentation, gene expression, sucrose, weight, mutation, inheritance (genetics), genotype, chemical constituents of plants, dietary fiber, biomass production, Louisiana
Few morphological mutations have been identified in sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids), a vegetatively propagated grass with complex, polyploid genetics. The multiple-bud mutation may increase bud survival at planting and shoot production per unit area. The objectives of this study were to compare yield components and bud germination of single-bud (normal) cultivars and multiple-bud mutants, to determine the frequency of multiple buds in mutants, and to assess the sexual transmission of the multiple-bud trait. Seven multiple-bud mutants, including one gall-forming mutant (US 94-12), were tested with two normal cultivars in plant cane crops for 2 yr in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Transmission was measured for 1 yr in progeny of 19 selfed or single-cross populations having at least one multiple-bud parent. Normal cultivars produced one shoot per node in the greenhouse. Most multiple-bud genotypes produced about two shoots per node, except that US 94-12 produced 4.5 shoots per node. In field tests, however, numbers of shoots, stalks, and stools of multiple-bud genotypes tended to be lower than cultivars. The multiple-bud trait was sexually transmitted to only 2.2% of progeny, lower than previously reported. This may have resulted from stricter screening or intermittent gene expression. Development of a multiple-bud cultivar will be hindered by the low rate of transmission and, therefore, the large population required for selection. Future studies should be directed toward the identification of commercially acceptable multiple-bud genotypes having the potential to give stands equal to cultivars at lower planting density, thereby reducing seed cane requirements.