Open Access Research article

A comprehensive genetic map of sugarcane that provides enhanced map coverage and integrates high-throughput Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers

Karen S Aitken1*, Meredith D McNeil1, Scott Hermann2, Peter C Bundock3, Andrzej Kilian4, Katarzyna Heller-Uszynska4, Robert J Henry5 and Jingchuan Li1

Author Affiliations

1 CSIRO Plant Industry, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, 306 Carmody Rd, St Lucia, QLD 4067, Australia

2 BSES Limited, Meiers Road, Indooroopilly, QLD 4068, Australia

3 Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Military Rd, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia

4 Diversity Arrays, Technology Pty Ltd, PO Box 7141, Yarralumla, ACT 2600, Australia

5 Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:152  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-152

Published: 24 February 2014



Sugarcane genetic mapping has lagged behind other crops due to its complex autopolyploid genome structure. Modern sugarcane cultivars have from 110-120 chromosomes and are in general interspecific hybrids between two species with different basic chromosome numbers: Saccharum officinarum (2nā€‰=ā€‰80) with a basic chromosome number of 10 and S. spontaneum (2nā€‰=ā€‰40-128) with a basic chromosome number of 8. The first maps that were constructed utilised the single dose (SD) markers generated using RFLP, more recent maps generated using AFLP and SSRs provided at most 60% genome coverage. Diversity Array Technology (DArT) markers are high throughput allowing greater numbers of markers to be generated.


Progeny from a cross between a sugarcane variety Q165 and a S. officinarum accession IJ76-514 were used to generate 2467 SD markers. A genetic map of Q165 was generated containing 2267 markers, These markers formed 160 linkage groups (LGs) of which 147 could be placed using allelic information into the eight basic homology groups (HGs) of sugarcane. The HGs contained from 13 to 23 LGs and from 204 to 475 markers with a total map length of 9774.4 cM and an average density of one marker every 4.3 cM. Each homology group contained on average 280 markers of which 43% were DArT markers 31% AFLP, 16% SSRs and 6% SNP markers. The multi-allelic SSR and SNP markers were used to place the LGs into HGs.


The DArT array has allowed us to generate and map a larger number of markers than ever before and consequently to map a larger portion of the sugarcane genome. This larger number of markers has enabled 92% of the LGs to be placed into the 8 HGs that represent the basic chromosome number of the ancestral species, S. spontaneum. There were two HGs (HG2 and 8) that contained larger numbers of LGs verifying the alignment of two sets of S. officinarum chromosomes with one set of S. spontaneum chromosomes and explaining the difference in basic chromosome number between the two ancestral species. There was also evidence of more complex structural differences between the two ancestral species.

Saccharum; Polyploid; Genetic mapping; SNP markers; DArT sugarcane array