Modern sugarcane cultivars are complex hybrids resulting from crosses among several species of the Saccharum genus. Traditional breeding methods have been extensively employed in different countries along the past decades to develop varieties with increased sucrose yield, and resistant to plagues and diseases. Conventional varietal improvement is, however, limited by the narrow pool of suitable markers. In this sense, molecular genetics is seen as a promising tool to assist in the process of molecular marker identification. The present invention concerns the identification of 348 genes associated with sucrose content in sugarcane plants. The genes were found to be differentially expressed when high sucrose and low sucrose plants and populations of plants were compared and/or when high and low sucrose internodes were compared. The expression data was obtained using cDNA microarray and quantitative PCR technologies. The genes identified can be used to identify, distinguish, characterize and/or develop plants with increased sucrose content. More preferably SEQ ID Nos: 1 to 203 should be useful as molecular markers. SEQ ID Nos: 204 to 228 are given as controls or examples of genes never associated with sucrose content. SEQ ID Nos. 1-203 and SEQ ID Nos. 229 to 373 can be targeted in the development of transgenic or non-transgenic varieties with increased sucrose content.