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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Crop Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #434500

Research Project: Utilizing Conventional and Molecular Approaches to Enhance Seed and Fiber Quality Traits, and Conducting a National Cotton Variety Testing Program

Location: Crop Genetics Research

Project Number: 6066-21000-052-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 26, 2018
End Date: Mar 25, 2023

1. Use molecular techniques to evaluate near isogenic cotton lines of phenotypic variants to discover novel fiber and leaf trichome traits, and work with breeders to develop and release germplasm with improved fiber traits. 2. Characterize available sources of the cotton ginning efficiency trait, develop and evaluate improved germplasm, and work with ARS cotton ginners to design best ginning practices for effective use of the new germplasm. 3. Determine efficiency of trait transfer in cotton breeding populations that occurs during inter-mating and backcross introgression of fiber traits; select, evaluate, and release lines with improved fiber and lint yield traits, especially reduced negative linkages between fiber quality and lint yield. 4. Identify and introgress into adapted cotton lines, natural variants that improve host plant resistance, including protective compounds and potentially invasive species that are impending or looming threats, such as cotton leaf curl virus. 4a. Identify and test molecular markers associated with traits that will enhance cotton host plant resistance. 4b. Combine into one elite line multiple traits that will enhance cotton host plant resistance. 5. Conduct a regional and national cotton variety testing program to generate supporting data, maintain a database of the evaluation, and use the information to develop genetic and/or production strategies to improve the cotton crop. 6. Identify cotton germplasm with tolerance or resistance to either the vector or the virus of insect-borne viral pathogens, with an initial focus on the cotton leafroll dwarf virus and develop relevant germplasm for the U.S. cotton belt.

This project will combine the expertise and plant materials of four scientists to provide a coordinated approach for improving grower profits by decreasing input costs and providing high yielding cotton lines that will meet the fiber quality needs of the modern textile industry. This approach includes using cotton variants as a tool, as well as novel cotton lines developed from intermating diverse germplasm, to reduce the existing negative association between yield and fiber quality. Improve the efficiency and accuracy of the intermating and introgression techniques by using DNA markers to track the intermating and introgression process over generations. Use the rapidly expanding arsenal of molecular techniques to develop and evaluate near isogenic lines with phenotypic variants for fiber and leaf trichomes. Study trichome initiation mechanisms using the isogenic lines. Increase the use of cotton seed for animal and fish feed by introgressing traits that make the seed less toxic. Improve cotton’s host plant resistance (HPR) to pests, by introgressing into adapted lines, existing traits that provide genetic resistance to diseases that attack cotton, improve the levels of protective compounds in the plant and the nectariless trait that decreases the plant’s attractiveness to insects. Evaluate the feasibility of using cotton genotypes with low attachment strengths to improve ginning efficiency and decrease fiber damage during the ginning process. Provide a venue to test elite lines and new varieties through coordinated multi-location tests, and use the data generated to compile a database of performance data across locations and years.