SASRI Herbarium

The SASRI Herbarium is a specialist collection of over 75 dried specimens representing genera closely related to sugarcane with a living collection of 2 659 sugarcane cultivars and sugarcane relatives, focusing on the Saccharinae. An extended living collection of over 300 species native to or naturalised in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa is also available on the campus. We are estimating around 100 species of grasses on the site, which will be surveyed during flowering season.

Dr Shailesh Joshi

Senior Plant Breeder


Senior Plant Breeder

Tel: 031 508 7400 (Switchboard)
Tel: 031 508 7541 (Direct)

Role & Overall Purpose
  • To develop and implement innovative research by developing new strategies to best utilise novel molecular genetic methods and information in combination with quantitative genetic theory in order to improve the efficacy and cost effectiveness of the breeding programmes.
  • To implement new strategies by using molecular markers in planned crossing and selection programmes ensuring integrated approaches trait improvement across breeding programmes and important traits.
  • To manage the long-term sustainability of variety improvement through the use of molecular markers to enhance introgression of new germplasm into the commercial breeding and to assess the potential of novel variety types for alternative uses of sugarcane.
  • Introgression breeding of yield improving traits and for disease resistance from wild relatives of crop plants.
  • Marker Assisted Selection, experience in working with molecular markers.
  • Designing and execution of crossing and selection programmes.
Research Interests
  • Marker Assisted selection in sugarcane.
  • Gene identification and discovery in sugarcane through functional and comparative genomics.
Key Outcomes

Planned crosses for resistance breeding based on parents molecular marker types. Molecular breeding for resistance to pest and diseases.

Key Publications

Joshi SV, Lloyd Evans D, Maima N and Ghai M (2023). Gene flow from commercial sugarcane hybrids to compatible wild relatives. Proceedings of the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, volume 31, 1305–1312, 2023

Joshi, S.V., Makome L and Ghai M., Evaluation of genetic diversity within South African sugarcane breeding populations and its implication on breeding. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 94.

Evans, D.L., Hughes, B. and Joshi, S.V., 2022. Comparative whole plastome and low copy number phylogenetics of the core Saccharinae and Sorghinae. bioRxiv.

Hoffman N, Singels A and Joshi S.V., 2021. Can drone phenotyping aid plant breeding? Preliminary results. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 93: 153-157.

Joshi, S.V. and Lloyd Evans D., Unexpected revelation of narrow genetic diversity in Saccharum spontaneum: impact on future sugarcane breeding. Proceedings of the South African Sugar Technologists Association 93: 162-166.

Evans, D.L. and Joshi, S.V., (2020). 7 Bioinformatics Approaches for Pathway Reconstruction in Orphan Crops - A New Paradigm. Quantitative Genetics, Genomics and Plant Breeding, p.86. CABI Publications. Editor Dr M S Kang

Evans, D.L. and Joshi, S.V., 2020. Origins, History and Molecular Characterization of Creole Cane. BioRxiv.

Evans, D.L. and Joshi, S.V., 2020. On the Validity of the Saccharum Complex and the Saccharinae Subtribe: A Re-assesment. BioRxiv.

Evans, D.L., Hlongwane, T.T., Joshi, S.V. and Pachón, D.M.R., 2019. The sugarcane mitochondrial genome: assembly, phylogenetics and transcriptomics. PeerJ,7, p.e7558.

Evans, D.L., Joshi, S.V. and Wang, J., 2019. Whole chloroplast genome and gene locus phylogenies reveal the taxonomic placement and relationship of Tripidium (Panicoideae: Andropogoneae) to sugarcane. BMC evolutionary biology, 19(1), p.33.

Ghai, M., Evans, D.L. and Joshi, S., (2019). Traces of Life’s Experiences: Epigenetics (DNA methylation) in Forensics. Handbook of Nutrition, Diet, and Epigenetics, pp.529-547.

Bhatia, D., Joshi, A. Das, Y. Vikal, G. K. Sahi, K. Neelam, K. Kaur, and K. Singh. (2017). Introgression of Yield Component Traits in Rice (Oryza sativa ssp. indica) through Interspecific Hybridization. Crop Sci. 57:1557-1573.

Lloyd Evans, D. and Joshi, S.V., (2017). Herbicide targets and detoxification proteins in sugarcane: from gene assembly to structure modelling. Genome, 60(7): 601-617.

Lloyd Evans D and Joshi SV (2016). Elucidating modes of activation and herbicide resistance by sequence assembly and molecular modelling of the Acetolactate Synthase complex in sugarcane. Journal of Theoretical Biology 407: 184-197.

Lloyd DE and Joshi SV (2016). Complete Chloroplast Genomes of Saccharum spontaneum, Saccharum officinarum and Miscanthus floridulus (Panicoideae: Andropogoneae) reveal the Plastid view on Sugarcane origins. Systematics and Biodiversity 14 (6): 548-571.

Joshi SV, Zhou MM, Leslie GW, Way MJ and Keeping MG (2014) Comparision of methods for determining thrips (Fulmekiola serrate) damage and implications for resistance screening. Int Sugar J 214-216.

Benjamin Y, Gorgens JF and Joshi SV (2014) Comparision of chemical composition and calculated ethanol yields of sugarcane varieties harvested for two growing seasons. Industrial Crops and Products. 58: 133-141.

van Antwerpen, R., Berry, S.D., van Antwerpen, T., Smithers, J., Joshi, S. and van der Laan, M. (2013) Sugarcane as an Energy Crop: Its Role in Biomass Economy, in Biofuel Crop Sustainability (ed B. P. Singh), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. Chapter 3, pp 53-107. ISBN: 978-0-470-96304-3. doi: 10.1002/9781118635797.

Joshi SV, Zhou MM, Leslie GW, Way MJ and Keeping MG (2013) Comparison of methods for determining thrips (Fulmekiola serrate) damage and implications for resistance screening. Proc S Afr Sug Technol Ass 86: 291-294

Joshi SV and Albertse EH (2013) Development of DNA fingerprinting database and cultivar identification in sugarcane using a genetic analyser. Proc S Afr Sug Technol Ass 86: 200-212

Zhou M, Lichakane M and Joshi SV (2013) Family Evaluation for quality traits in South African sugarcane breeding programmes. Int Sugar J 115: 418-430

  • PhD (Genetics), Punjab Agricultural University, India.
  • MSc (Genetics & Plant Breeding), P.D.K.V, India.
  • BSc (Agriculture), P.D.K.V, India.


The SASRI herbarium has identified two new species within 3 years. These are Tripidium demetae and Saccharum cultum. These are contained both in the living collection and type specimen are also contained within the herbarium collection.

Tripidium demetae

Saccharum cultum


Specimens text paragraph here


list publications here