Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Research Project #434259

Research Project: Cotton Genetic Resource Management and Genetic Improvement

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Project Number: 3091-21000-041-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 27, 2018
End Date: Mar 26, 2023

Objective 1: Efficiently and effectively acquire genetic resources of cotton and its wild relatives; maintain their safety, genetic integrity, health and viability; and distribute them and associated information worldwide. [NP301, C2, PS2A] Objective 2: Develop more effective genetic resource maintenance, evaluation, and genetic marker characterization methods and apply them to priority genetic resources of cotton and its wild relatives. Record and disseminate evaluation and characterization data and digital images via GRIN-Global, CottonGen, and other data sources. [NP301, C2, PS2A] Objective 3: With other NPGS genebanks and Crop Germplasm Committees, develop, update, document, and implement best management practices and Crop Vulnerability Statements for cotton genetic resource and information management. [NP301, C2, PS2A] Objective 4: Devise more efficient and effective cotton genetic enhancement approaches and apply them to generate breeding stocks incorporating genes from cotton land races and wild relatives for improved yield, fiber quality, seed quality, and/or resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. [NP301, C1, PS1A, PS1B] Objective 5: Evaluate the cotton primary and secondary gene pools, as well as natural and synthetic cotton populations that are maintained in the USDA NPGS and cotton research community to identify useful genetic variability for industry-relevant traits, and provide information to breeders, along with augmented, and/or improved core sets of effective DNA markers. [NP301, C1, PS1A] Objective 6: Sequence, refine, and annotate priority genomes of cotton species and accessions that contain genes controlling traits important to the cotton industry, and work with breeders to use these and previously identified cotton sequences to identify genomic regions for effective selections. [NP301, C1, PS1A; C3, PS3A] Objective 7: Develop, improve, and manage an efficient and effective database and bioinformatics system, CottonGen, for efficiently exploiting cotton genetic variation. [NP301, C4, PS4A] Objective 8: Identify key genes and genetic elements in cotton genomes, and use the information in selecting and verifying a range of priority agronomic traits, including biotic and abiotic stress resistance, and fiber and seed properties from materials contained in the USDA NPGS and cotton research community. [NP301, C1, PS1A; C3, PS3A]

The Gossypium genus is composed of at least 50 recognized species of differing ploidy levels and contains a wealth of genetic variability ranging from highly improved allotetraploid species to wild diploid species. The National Cotton Germplasm Collection contains much of the diversity of the genus, and its long-term objectives are to acquire, conserve, characterize, evaluate, and distribute accessions, with the goal of making these resources available for genetic improvement efforts within and outside the USDA. Under the current project, we will make efforts to acquire new germplasm through plant explorations and exchanges that target current gaps in the Collection. To make the inherent variability of the Collection useful, it must be described and evaluated. For this reason, this project will generate phenotypic descriptions of genetic resources, and evaluate these materials for drought stress tolerance, agronomic traits, and fiber quality. Recent advances in cotton molecular genetics have provided the molecular markers needed to measure genetic diversity, characterize new acquisitions, ascertain areas of deficiency, and maintain the integrity of accessions while regenerating the Collection. Recognizing that parts of the Collection are not readily usable due to species incompatibilities, day-length flowering responses, and the perennial nature of accessions, pre-breeding efforts are needed to improve access to and utility of these portions of the Collection. Information generated by this project will be made publicly available in the GRIN-Global and/or CottonGen databases.