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Location: Crop Genetics Research

Title: Development of "Naked-Tufted" Seed Coat Mutants for Potential Use in Cotton Production

item Bechere, Efrem
item Auld, D
item Hequet, E

Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/14/2009
Publication Date: 1/30/2009
Citation: Bechere, E., Auld, D.L., Hequet, E. 2009. Development of "Naked-Tufted" Seed Coat Mutants for Potential Use in Cotton Production. Euphytica. 167:333-339

Interpretive Summary: Cotton seed is delinted with chemicals to remove the fuzz (very short cotton fibers left on the seed following ginning to remove cotton lint) so that the seed can flow easily through the planter. The cost of chemicals and the impact of these chemicals on the environment are substantial. Research was undertaken to develop cotton, through a process of chemical mutagenesis (causing changes to plant DNA), to have seed with little fuzz (naked-tufted) in order to require less chemical during delinting. Three commercial cotton varieties treated with a mutagenic agent called ethyl methane sulfonate produced individual plants and lines that exhibited seed nakedness in combination with good lint yield and fiber quality. Overall, the naked-tufted seed lines produced lower lint yield as compared to their original fuzzy parents. However, the naked seed lines had some desirable fiber traits such as fewer short fibers, reduced fiber entanglements called neps, and better yarn tenacity (a measure of good fiber strength). Ginning the naked-tufted seed lines may have consumed less electricity than ginning fuzzy varieties. The use of naked-tufted lines has potential to reduce the cost of delinting seed and its environmental impact if the yield of these lines can be improved.

Technical Abstract: Use of chemical mutagenesis has been highly successful in most major crops but has only recently been used in improving cotton. The objective of this research was to develop ‘naked-tufted’ seed mutants and to incorporate this genetic trait into cotton to enhance crop quality and reduce processing costs. In 1997, six commercial varieties were treated with 2.45% v/v ethyl methane sulfonate. In 1999, three M3 plants from Atlas, Tejas, and SC 9023 were identified that had partially naked seed coats. The trait was stabilized through individual plant selections from 2000 to 2004. During 2005 and 2006, the homozygous naked-tufted M8 mutant lines were evaluated for lint yield, lint percent, fibers per seed, fibers per square mm, fiber quality, seed oil content, ginning efficiency and yarn spinning performance. Overall, the naked-tufted seed mutants gave lower lint yield, lower fiber per seed, lower lint per seed, and lower fibers per square mm as compared to the their original fuzzy parents. The lint turnout from the mutants was similar to the fuzzy parents and the commercial cultivars. The naked-tufted seed mutants had higher seed oil percent, 6-17% lower short fiber counts, significantly reduced seed coat neps (37 – 42%), higher elongation and yarn tenacity than their fuzzy counterparts. Preliminary data also shows that the naked-tufted mutants require less energy to gin.