Sugarcane (Saccharum X officinarum): A Reference Study for the Regulation of Genetically Modified Cultivars in Brazil
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Global interest in sugarcane has increased significantly in recent years due to its economic impact on sustainable energy production. Sugarcane breeding and better agronomic practices have contributed to a huge increase in sugarcane yield in the last 30 years. Additional increases in sugarcane yield are expected to result from the use of biotechnology tools in the near future. Genetically modified (GM) sugarcane that incorporates genes to increase resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses could play a major role in achieving this goal. However, to bring GM sugarcane to the market, it is necessary to follow a regulatory process that will evaluate the environmental and health impacts of this crop. The regulatory review process is usually accomplished through a comparison of the biology and composition of the GM cultivar and a non-GM counterpart. This review intends to provide information on non-GM sugarcane biology, genetics, breeding, agronomic management, processing, products and byproducts, as well as the current technologies used to develop GM sugarcane, with the aim of assisting regulators in the decision-making process regarding the commercial release of GM sugarcane cultivars. © 2011 The Author(s).