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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Mississippi State, Mississippi » Crop Science Research Laboratory » Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380027

Research Project: Closing the Yield Gap of Cotton, Corn, and Soybean in the Humid Southeast with More Sustainable Cropping Systems

Location: Genetics and Sustainable Agriculture Research

Title: History of USDA-ARS Cotton Host Resistance and Breeding Research at Mississippi State, MS

Author
item McCarty, Jack
item Jenkins, Johnie
item Saha, Sukumar
item Wubben, Martin

Submitted to: Journal of Cotton Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Cotton host plant resistance research was initiated with the establishment of the USDA-ARS Boll Weevil Research Laboratory in 1960. The objective of the new laboratory was to conduct research and develop technology that could ultimately be used to eradicate the boll weevil as an economic threat. Early research concentrated on developing techniques and screening cotton germplasm for resistance. Following a trial boll weevil eradication program that was conducted in south Mississippi, a decision was made to move forward with eradication. A full scale trial began in southern Virginia and eastern North Carolina in 1978 and after initial success USDA-APHIS established an eradication program. These events resulted in the host plant resistance program broadening its research into other economic pests of cotton. During the 1980’s research continued to focus on tarnished plant bug, the tobacco budworm, expanding the genetic diversity of cotton, and basic cotton genetic studies. With the development of field infestation techniques for the tobacco budworm the research team was approached in the 1990’s to conduct the first field test of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) transgenic cotton for resistance. During this time period root-knot nematode research expanded. Cotton fruiting efficiency and distribution of harvestable bolls and the concept of plant box mapping were developed. During the 2000’s cotton breeding and genetic research expanded with the utilization of chromosome substitution lines for the introgression of new alleles into cotton. The research program has developed and released over 800 germplasm lines and four random-mating populations. Scientists in the program have trained over 60 graduate students and countless others have been mentored. The full impact of the research team will only be revealed with time.

Technical Abstract: Cotton host plant resistance research was initiated as a new area of research with the establishment of the USDA-ARS Boll Weevil Research Laboratory, adjacent to Mississippi State University in 1960. The objective of the new laboratory was to conduct research and develop technology that could ultimately be used to eradicate the boll weevil, as an economic pest. Early research concentrated on developing techniques and screening cotton germplasm for resistance. Following a trial boll weevil eradication program that was conducted in south Mississippi, a decision was made to move forward with eradication. A full scale trial began in southern Virginia and eastern North Carolina in 1978 and after initial success USDA-APHIS established an eradication program. These events resulted in the host plant resistance program broadening its research into other economic pests of cotton. During the 1980’s research continued to focus on tarnished plant bug, the tobacco budworm, expanding the genetic diversity of cotton through the conversion of photoperiodic stocks to day-neutrality, and basic cotton genetic studies. With the development of field infestation techniques for the tobacco budworm the research team was approached in the 1990’s to conduct the first field test of Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) transgenic cotton for resistance. During this time period root-knot nematode research expanded. Cotton fruiting efficiency and distribution of harvestable bolls and the concept of plant mapping or box mapping were developed. During the 2000’s cotton breeding and genetic research expanded with the utilization of chromosome substitution lines for the introgression of new alleles into Upland cotton. Nematode research remained active during this time. The research program has developed and released over 800 germplasm lines and four random-mating populations. Scientists in the program have trained over 60 graduate students and countless others have been mentored. The full impact of the research team will only be revealed with time.