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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Florence, South Carolina » Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research » Research » Research Project #425692

Research Project: Enhancement of Cotton Genetics and Management Systems to Improve Yield, Fiber Quality, and Production Stability

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Project Number: 6082-21000-007-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 17, 2013
End Date: Mar 11, 2018

1. Identify and characterize genes controlling aquaporin proteins in cotton, determine genetic diversity, determine role in cotton drought stress tolerance, determine potential for improving productivity, and develop strategies to utilize these genes in breeding programs. 2. Develop and release novel cotton germplasm with improved fiber yield, quality, and adaptation to diverse environments, and design effective management strategies that increase cotton yield and fiber quality. 2A. Evaluate the yield and fiber quality combining ability of exotic landrace accessions when crossed to elite cotton germplasm. 2B. Develop management criteria for optimizing use of site-specific irrigation in fields with variable soils.

A multidisciplinary research effort will use genetics and management to improve yield, fiber quality, and production stability in cotton. In objective 1, we will field evaluate an underutilized collection of cotton accessions grown under naturally occurring water deficit stress. We will relate the performance of these accessions to aquaporin and other water deficit stress sensitive candidate genes. In objective 2, contemporary plant breeding methods will be used to develop and release broadly adapted, high yielding germplasm lines with improved fiber quality. Also in objective 2, we will conduct water management studies to provide strategies that optimize cotton yield and fiber properties. Both of these objectives focus on increasing the profitability of the U.S. cotton crop. This research will identify candidate genes as novel breeding targets. It will develop germplasm as improved breeding stock. This research will also specifically provide irrigation recommendations when using site-specific center pivot and linear irrigation systems on fields that contain soils with different abilities to hold water. Industry customers will use these genetic and management products to help the nation’s cotton producers face increasing environmental and economic challenges.