Start Date: Sep 01, 2008
End Date: Aug 31, 2013
Cotton germplasm will be characterized and evaluated for agronomic traits, fiber quality, and biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Molecular marker profiles will be used to establish genetic relationships between germplasm lines and to characterize genetic diversity within germplasm sets. Molecular mapping techniques will be employed in characterizing genome structure. Data collected from phenotypic characterizations and evaluations, and from molecular characterization and mapping will be maintained in the CottonDB and GRIN databases. An initial project, occurring during the first three years of the project, will involve the phenotypic evaluation and molecular characterization of global cultivars and elite germplasm. Phenotypic evaluations will focus on agronomic, yield, and fiber quality traits of cultivars. Morphological descriptor data will also be taken. Phenotypic evaluations will occur in replicated tests on cooperator facilities at College Station, TX, using seed provided by the ARS. Phenotypic evaluation will be a joint effort. Molecular characterization of the cultivars/elite lines will take place in ARS facilities by ARS personnel. Molecular diversity will be assessed using a set of 208 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Data from the molecular diversity assessment will be used to calculate genetic similarity coefficients. This coefficient will be further used in a cluster analysis to construct a dendrogram showing relationships between cultivars and a principal component analysis to observe how individual cultivars form groups based on SSR similarities. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) based on the SSR data will measure genetic structure between and among the twelve groups of cotton cultivars. The project may be extended to other germplasm and beyond the initial three years. Complementary efforts to supplement characterization of germplasm through physical mapping of the cotton genome and database development will occur.