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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Crop Germplasm Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #414144

Research Project: Management of Cotton Genetic Resources and Genetic Improvement of Cotton

Location: Crop Germplasm Research

Title: Origin and diversity of the wild cottons (Gossypium hirsutum) of mound key, Florida

item NING, WIEXUAN - Iowa State University
item ROGERS, KAREN - Florida Department Of Environment
item HSU, CHUAN-YU - Mississippi State University
item MAGBAUNA, ZENIDA - Mississippi State University
item PECHANOVA, OLGA - Mississippi State University
item ARICK II, MARK - Mississippi State University
item KAYAL, EHASN - Iowa State University
item HU, GUANJING - Chinese Academy Of Agricultural Sciences
item PETERSON, DANIEL - Mississippi State University
item Udall, Joshua - Josh
item GROVER, CORRINE - Iowa State University
item WENDEL, JONATHAN - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/13/2024
Publication Date: 6/18/2024
Citation: Ning, W., Rogers, K., Hsu, C., Magbauna, Z.V., Pechanova, O., Arick Ii, M.A., Kayal, E., Hu, G., Peterson, D.G., Udall, J.A., Grover, C., Wendel, J.F. 2024. Origin and diversity of the wild cottons (Gossypium hirsutum) of mound key, Florida. Scientific Reports. 14. Article 14046.

Interpretive Summary: Researchers are looking into the genetic differences among wild versions of crops we use today to understand how these plants were domesticated and how we can use their wild relatives to improve current crops. They have studied a wild type of cotton called Gossypium hirsutum, which is very important because it is a major source of natural fibers used in textiles and is grown all over the world. This study focused on a specific wild cotton population found in Mound Key Archaeological State Park, Florida. The genetic makeup of 25 cotton plants from this area was established and was shown to be genetically different from any other known wild, traditional, or cultivated cotton types. This suggests that these plants are a unique form of wild cotton that hasn't been recognized until now. The significant genetic differences between this Florida cotton group and other wild cottons imply that there may be more undiscovered, genetically unique wild cotton populations in areas around the Caribbean. This finding is important for the conservation of genetic diversity in cotton and indicates that scientists should continue to explore the wild varieties of this plant to possibly find more unique genetic resources.

Technical Abstract: Elucidating genetic diversity within wild forms of modern crops is essential for understanding domestication and the possibilities of wild germplasm utilization. Gossypium hirsutum is a predominant source of natural plant fibers and the most widely cultivated cotton species. Wild forms of G. hirsutum are challenging to distinguish from feral derivatives, and truly wild populations are uncommon. Here we characterize a population from Mound Key Archaeological State Park, Florida using genome-wide SNPs extracted from 25 individuals over three sites. Our results reveal that this population is genetically dissimilar from other known wild, landrace, and domesticated cottons, and likely represents a pocket of previously unrecognized wild genetic diversity. The unexpected level of divergence between the Mound Key population and other wild cotton populations suggests that the species may harbor other remnant and genetically distinct populations that are geographically scattered in suitable habitats throughout the Caribbean. Our work thus has broader conservation genetic implications and suggests that further exploration of natural diversity in this species is warranted.