Committed for an efficient, globally competitive and vibrant sugarcane agriculture

Division of Crop Improvement

The Division of Crop Improvement owes its genesis to the establishment of Botany and Breeding unit at Indian Institute of Sugarcane Research, Lucknow by Sugarcane Breeding Institute, and Coimbatore for evaluation of sugarcane varieties in sub-tropical region. This unit was transferred to IISR, Lucknow in 1969 and a section of Botany and Breeding came into existence. This section was entrusted with the responsibility of genetic evaluation of sugarcane crosses in subtropical India and germplasm evaluation of sugarcane and sugarbeet. Later on this section was elevated to the Division of Botany and Breeding. It was renamed as Division of Crop Improvement in 1989. As per Institute's mandate, this Division is conducting fundamental and applied research on sugar crops (sugarcane and sugarbeet). Evaluation and enrichment of germplasm was also initiated for its utilization for sugarcane varietal improvement programmes in subtropics. Division is known for development of leading sugarcane varieties such as CoLk 8001, CoLk 8102, CoLk 94184 and CoLk 9709, which are occupying sizeable area in UP, Bihar, Odisha etc. The varietal development efforts are directed towards high cane yield, sugar content, resistance to red rot and tolerance to water logging. The Division is actively engaged in prebreeding especially for high sugar, red rot resistance and top borer tolerance. Division is producing breeder seed through conventional and Micropropagation at Lucknow. Division is also recognized as DUS testing centre of sugarcane for sub tropical India and over 176 varieties are maintained.

 A first time Indian resource of over 26,453 ESTs from different tissues of sugarcane, including red rot and water logging specific ESTs were developed and submitted to the gene bank. DNA based markers and rDNA sequence analysis have been used for molecular characterization and genetic diversity studies of sugarcane genotypes and some pathogenic fungi of sugarcane apart from the genetic fidelity analysis of micro-propagated plantlets of sugarcane. Polymorphic primers have been identified in clones with varying sugar content, which shall be validated further in segregating populations. PCR based diagnostic approaches have been developed for detection of red rot, smut and grassy shoot diseases of sugarcane. Genetic transformation of sugarcane using cry 1 Ab gene is in progress for top borer tolerance.

 Inherent chromosome mosaicism of cultivated genotypes, cytotype identification in S. spontaneum, FISH-based detection of RDNA genes on chromosomes of Saccharum species, and anatomical studies of roots of sugarcane under water logging have been carried out.


  • Development of superior sugarcane varieties with special reference to subtropics.
  • Evaluation and documentation of sugarcane germplasm for North Indian conditions.
  • Development of breeding and genetic stocks for specific attributes.
  • Application of biotechnological approaches for sugarcane improvement.


  • To develop sugarcane varieties resistant to red rot for higher sugar productivity.  

Thrust Areas

  • To develop suitable varieties for sub tropical India
  • Genetic enhancement in traits of economic importance through gene introgression from Saccharum complex
  • Increasing breeding efficiency through biotechnological interventions
  • Sugarbeet breeding for Indian agro-climates and its adaptation

Facilities available

  • Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Lab: PCR, Electrophoresis (Vertical and Horizontal), DNA Sequencing Gel, High Speed Refrigerated Centrifuge, Deep Freezer (-80oC), Water purification system, Hybridization Oven etc.
  • Cytogenetics Lab: Cytogenetics work station, Thermal Cycler with in situ module, Freeze Dryer, Gel Doc System, Electrophoresis System with Power Pack etc.
  • DUS Testing Facility: 108 reference varieties of sugarcane are being maintained for DUS characterization and comparison of new sugarcane varieties.
  • Glass house/ Poly house facilities: These facilities are being utilized for fluff sowing and seedlings raising of sugarcane.

Head of Division : Dr D R Malviya

Sugarbeet Research and Development

Project Details

Staff of the Division