An international project is underway to sequence the sugarcane genome by 2020. One of the potential avenues for GM of cane will be the development of varieties better suited to the production of energy, fuels, and plastics.

“Sugar is the last major cultivated plant to have its genome sequenced,” according to Prof. Robert Henry of University of Queensland (UQ), who believes that the cane industry will need to look beyond sugar given low prices and competition from major origins like Brazil and India.

UQ researchers are already testing existing varieties of sugarcane based on their suitability as an ethanol feedstock.

World ethanol production

Source: EIA, RFA, USDA
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