Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2011
Publication Date: 5/10/2011
Citation: Hinchliffe, D.J., Meredith Jr, W.R., Delhom, C.D., Thibodeaux, D.P., Fang, D.D. 2011. Elevated growing degree days influence transition stage timing during cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) fiber development and result in increased fiber strength. Crop Science. 51:1683-1692. DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2010.10.0569. Interpretive Summary: Cotton fiber quality traits, such as fiber strength, are important factors that can favorably or adversely affect the value of cotton for the producer. Cotton varieties that have well-defined and consistent differences in fiber quality are useful tools for cotton research scientists and can be used to identify DNA sequences linked to desirable cotton fiber quality traits. Once identified, these DNA sequences can be transferred to other cotton varieties through traditional breeding techniques or genetic manipulation to create improved cotton cultivars that will increase the value of the producer’s crop. The cotton fiber develops to maturity in well-defined and distinct growth stages. In a previous study, we determined that changes in the timing of certain cotton fiber growth stages results in increased fiber strength. Here we present evidence that this difference in fiber strength originates early during fiber development and is also influenced by day and night temperatures. Identification of the DNA sequences that respond to environmental changes in the field and control the timing of cotton fiber growth stages will facilitate the development of novel and improved fiber quality traits.
Technical Abstract: Growing degree days required for cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) growth and development were recorded for four growing seasons and compared with fiber quality measurements and gene expression data indicative of different stages of fiber development. Comparative fiber bundle strength differences between the Upland cotton near-isogenic lines MD 52ne and MD 90ne were observed using immature and mature fibers collected at different time points of development stages. Previously characterized fiber bundle-strength differences between the near-isogenic lines, known as a result of early entrance into the transition stage of fiber development, were present as early as 20 days post-anthesis and persisted to boll opening and fiber maturity. Accumulated degree day heat units from the day of anthesis were correlated with the transition stage of fiber development in both cotton NILs in all seasons. The onset of transition stage was partially determined by the accumulated degree day heat units from the day of anthesis. Fiber quality measurements obtained over multiple growing seasons indicated that an earlier entrance into the transition stage of fiber development resulted in increased fiber bundle strength. This data suggests that the identification of genes associated with early entrance into the transition stage can be used to temporally manipulate fiber development and improve fiber quality.