As resistance genes have been shown to contain conserved motifs and cluster in many plant genomes, the identification of resistance gene analogues can be used as a strategy for both the discovery of DNA markers linked to disease resistance loci and the map-based cloning of disease resistance genes. Sugarcane suffers from many important diseases and an analysis of resistance gene analogues offers a means to identify DNA markers linked to resistance loci. However, sugarcane has the most complex genome of any crop plant and initially it is important to understand the extent of resistance gene analogue diversity in the sugarcane genome before genetic analysis. We review herein how more than 100 expressed sequence tags with homology to different resistance genes have been identified in sugarcane with many mapped as single-dose restriction fragment length polymorphism markers. Importantly, some of these resistance gene analogues have been shown to be linked to disease resistance genes or disease quantitative trait loci. In an attempt to more efficiently analyse additional resistance gene analogues in sugarcane, we report on experiments aimed at investigating the molecular diversity of several resistance gene analogue families using a modified form of a technique termed Ecotilling. Using Ecotilling, we were able to rapidly detect single nucleotide polymorphisms in fragments amplified by PCR from four different resistance gene analogue families, SoRP1D, SoPTO, SoXa21 and SoHs1pro-1. An analysis of a diverse set of sugarcane varieties, including modern sugarcane cultivars and several S. officinarum and S. spontaneum clones, indicated that all amplicons, apart from SoHs1pro-1, contained significant polymorphism within the gene region studied. However, a comparison among these sugarcane clones, including between the parents of two sugarcane mapping populations, indicated that most polymorphisms were multi-dose, not single-dose, preventing their genetic map location or association with disease susceptibility or resistance from being determined.