Modern cultivated sugarcane is a complex aneuploid polyploid with an estimated genome size of 3000 Mb. Although most traits in sugarcane show complex inheritance, a rest locus showing monogenic inheritance has been documented. In order to facilitate cloning of the rust locus, we have constructed a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library for the cultivar R570. The library contains 103,296 clones providing 4.5 sugarcane genome equivalents A random sampling of 240 clones indicated an average insert size of 130 kb allowing a 98% probability of recovering any specific sequence of interest. High-density filters were gridded robotically using a Genetix Q-BOT in a 4 x 4 double-spotted array on 22.5 cm2 filters. Each set of five filters provides a genome coverage of 4x with 18,432 clones represented per filter. Screening of the library with three different barley chloroplast gene probes indicated an exceptionally low chloroplast DNA content of less than 1%. To demonstrate the library's potential for map-based cloning, single-copy RFLP sugarcane mapping probes anchored to nine different linkage groups and three different gene probes were used to screen the library. The number of positive hybridization signals resulting from each probe ranged from 8 to 60. After determining addresses of the signals, clones were evaluated for insert size and HindIII-fingerprinted. The fingerprints were then used to determine clone relationships and assemble contigs. For comparison with other monocot genomes, sugarcane RFLP probes were also used to screen a Sorghum bicolor BAC library and two rice BAC libraries. The rice and sorghum BAC clones were characterized for insert size and fingerprinted, and the results compared to sugarcane. The library was screened with a rust resistance RFLP marker and candidate BAC clones were subjected to RFLP fragment matching to identify those corresponding to the same genomic region as the rust gene.