Crop Biotech Update

Candidate Genes Related to Drought Stress Identified in Cotton

September 19, 2018

Drought stress threatens yield in cotton, the most important crop in the textile industry. Thus, developing cotton lines with tolerance to drought is important in cotton breeding. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) have been developed using traditional molecular markers (SSRs, RFLPs), but only a few of these QTLs have been verified in terms of their functions.

Scientist Wangzhen Guo and colleagues from Nanjing Agricultural University use single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), the most abundant variation in the DNA of many organisms, to find markers associated with drought. They use the CottonSNP63K SNP array to screen 719 cotton accessions and performed genome-wide association study (GWAS). By combining the GWAS results with RNA-seq and qRT-PCR data, they find four major genes that are potentially important to drought stress. These genes include RD2 (response to desiccation 2 protein), HAT22 (homeobox-leucine zipper protein), PIP2 (plasma membrane intrinsic protein 2), and PP2C (protein phosphatase 2C).

For more information, read the article in Frontiers in Plant Science.