Functional Genomics of Mutant Cotton Reveal Findings for Cotton Fiber Initiation and Elongation

February 13, 2013

Cotton is a commercially important fiber crop used as a major source of natural textile fiber and cottonseed oil. Among the four cultivated species, Gossypium hirsutum represents over 95% of the cultivated cotton worldwide whereas the other three species, G. barbadense, G. arboreum and G. herbaceum together represent the remaining 5%. Cotton fibers are single-celled seed trichomes that develop from the ovule epidermal cells. About 30% of the seed epidermal cells differentiate into spinnable fibers. Scientists at National Research Centre for Plant Biotechnology and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi have unraveled the genes involved in fiber development in cotton.

The scientists carried out transcriptomic and proteomic analysis to compare the expression of genes and proteins in cotton ovules covering fiber initiation to secondary cell wall synthesis stages in normal cotton and lintless mutant of cotton and identified a set of genes closely associated with fiber development. This landmark study will help cotton biotechnologists and breeders to manipulate and breed cotton for fiber quality, quantity and strength.

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