Biotech Updates

Texas A&M Study to Use Molecular Tools for Cotton with Longer, Stronger Fiber

January 14, 2015

Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research are set to use molecular tools to solve the global cotton market demand for longer, stronger fibers for spinning and weaving. One of the challenges that cotton breeders face in the improvement of fiber quality is low genetic diversity among elite, agronomically acceptable genotypes of upland cotton.

Dr. Wayne Smith, associate soil and crop sciences department head in College Station, said that DNA marker-assisted selection could help breeders access unexploited genetic diversity as well as facilitate the simultaneous improvement of both yield and fiber quality traits. The study screened 223 publicly available DNA markers, where 55 were significantly associated with fiber length and 50 were significantly associated with fiber strength."

As genotyping costs continue to decrease relative to phenotyping costs, molecular breeding approaches that better capture phenotypic variation across different genetic backgrounds may prove to be more efficient and cost effective methods for the improvement of fiber quality in cotton," Smith said.

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