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Goal : Increase productivity and profitability of the sugar industry through incorporation of better sugarcane varieties for commercial cultivation.
- Collection, conservation, evaluation and utilization of Saccharum germplasm.
- Hybridisation of sugarcane to develop varieties with high yields, resistance to white leaf disease (WLD)/grassy shoot disease (GSD), smut and leaf scald, early, mid and late maturity, good ratooning ability and tolerance to drought for rain-fed and irrigated cultivation in different sugarcane-growing areas in Sri Lanka and to generate high-sucrose genetic stocks to be used as parental clones.
- Selection of sugarcane clones with commercial attributes, determining proven parents and proven crossing combinations, selecting true hybrids of inter-specific, inter-generic and backcrosses in the nobilisation of wild species and to generate high-sucrose parental stocks through recurrent selection.
- Tissue culture of sugarcane to develop new sub-clones resistant to WLD/GSD and smut from disease susceptible high-yielding varieties, produce disease-free planting materials from newly-released varieties for rapid multiplication by in-vitro culture and lateral shoot multiplication under poly tunnel conditions, and to produce in-vitro-cultured materials for varietal exportation and expedite sugarcane quarantine process by meri-cloning of imported varieties.
- Studying molecular biology of sugarcane varieties to identify genetic relatedness and distinctness among commercial and locally-collected sugarcane varieties (DUS ((Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) testing), confirm the identity of varieties through parental identification, avoid mixing of varieties and identify true hybrids, identify genetic relatedness among parental and commercialized hybrid sugarcane varieties and the existing markers for high-yielding varieties with disease resistance, and to adopt marker-assisted selection in the existing breeding program.
- Release of the following superior sugarcane varieties
|SLI 121||SL 83 06||SL 86 13||SL 88 116||SLT 88 238|
|SL 89 1673||SL 92 4918||SL 92 4997||SL 92 5588|
- Completion of evaluations of the following near-commercial varieties in the pipeline for release
|SL 95 4432||SL 95 4443||SL 96 128||SL 96 328||SL 96 771|
- Enrichment of Saccharum genetic resource
The germplasm collection of 150 accessions received from Sri Lanka Sugar Corporation in 1984 has been enriched with 1058 new accessions.
- Internationally-recognized sugarcane crop improvement program
The sugarcane crop improvement programme of the Institute received international recognition in 2003.
- Development of directional breeding system
Proven parent and proven crosses systems have been developed through quantitative genetic experiments to generate progenies for specific breeding objectives.
- Development of efficient progeny selection methods
Rank-based progeny selection indices for different selection stages were developed using multiple trait selection criteria for efficient screening of clones.
- Identification of sugarcane White Leaf Disease (WLD) resistant gene pool
Parental stock with 32 accessions was identified for development of improved varieties with sugarcane WLD resistance.
- Devising a high-quality planting material production nursery system with higher seed multiplication rate
This new system involves adoption of sugarcane meristem culture, Lateral Shoot Multiplication (LSM) and spaced planting of seed setts.
- Provision of breeder’s seeds of recommended varieties to the industry
- Provision of disease-free in-vitro-cultured planting materials to the industry
- Undertaking training activities in sugarcane breeding, tissue culture, biotechnology and high-quality planting material production
- Conducting awareness programs for the public and school children