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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Operation of a Cotton Winter Nursery to Maintain Cotton Germplasm Diversity and to Accelerate Public and Private Cotton Improvement Efforts

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Jointly manage and maintain a cotton winter nursery for the propagation of the National Cotton Germplasm Collection and for the acceleration of public and private cotton improvement efforts.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A tropical cotton winter nursery will be jointly maintained and managed by the National Cotton Council and the Agricultural Research Service. Seed of accessions from the National Cotton Germplasm Collection and from public and private research efforts will be sent to the nursery for seed increase and generational advancement. Services such as forced self pollination ("selfing"), creation of hybrids ("crossing"), and rouging of genetic materials will be offered to users. Materials increased or created by crossing will be ginned at the nursery, fumigated, and shipped to users through the assistance of the ARS. The cooperating parties of this agreement will together provide the personnel, expertise, supplies, and equipment necessary to support the operation of the nursery and the services it provides.


3.Progress Report:

The goal of this project is to preserve and expand the cotton germplasm base and to accelerate private and public cotton improvement efforts. The project accomplishes this by providing oversight of the Cotton Winter Nursery (CWN) in Mexico. With new insect and disease threats, increasing environmental stresses, and an industry requiring greater fiber quality, there is a need to preserve genetic variability within the cotton germplasm collection, explore the germplasm base for desirable variation, and move desirable variation into commercially useful germplasm. In FY 2012, seed of 1,837 accessions from the ARS National Cotton Germplasm Collection were increased at the CWN, descriptor information was collected on these accessions for characterization and/or identity confirmation, digital images were made, and fiber samples were obtained for fiber trait analyses. Seed of all accessions were placed in storage and made available to requesting researchers. The CWN provided seed increase and hybridization services to 23 ARS, academic, and industry users in FY 2012. To meet the budgetary needs of the nursery, rates charged to users were increased by 10%, and a total of $450,000 in user fees was collected. Efforts to obtain transgenic permits to increase the utility of the nursery to public and private breeders continued. For the first time, a second season of production was implemented at the CWN to provide increased services for nursery users. Ongoing work by this project assures the long-term accessibility of an "off-season" seed increase facility to cotton researchers and breeders and assures access to the large diversity of cotton resources held in the Collection. The CWN remains a critical resource to its users in their efforts to develop more productive, efficient, and profitable cotton varieties for use by U.S. farmers. This project is scheduled to expire in early FY 2013; however, it is anticipated that the project will be extended into FY 2014 or beyond. Relevant discussions are ongoing with the cooperator.


Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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