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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

2011 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 assure its accessibility to cotton researchers and breeders worldwide. The project accomplishes this by providing oversight of the Cotton Winter Nursery (CWN) in Mexico. With new insect and disease threats, and with environmental stresses increasing, there is a need to explore the germplasm base for resistant or tolerant traits and to move these traits into commercially useful germplasm. In FY 2011, seed of some 2,000 accessions from the ARS cotton germplasm collection were increased at the CWN, descriptor information was collected on these accessions for characterization and/or identity confirmation, 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 more than two dozen ARS, academic, and industry users. To meet the budgetary needs of the nursery, rates charged to users were increased by 10%. Efforts to obtain transgenic permits to increase the utility of the nursery to public and private breeders continued. 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 ARS 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. The project ADODR monitors the cooperator's performance under this agreement primarily through a formal Steering Committee which the ADODR chairs. Composition of the Committee includes key cotton researchers from government, academia, and industry. Scheduled meetings of the Committee are held three times a year and routinely involve detailed discussions of work progress, problems, and priorities. The ADODR maintains routine communications with the cooperator, CWN personnel, and members of the Steering Committee by phone and e-mail, and through personal interactions as appropriate.


Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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