Cotton Breeding

Jinfa Zhang
Associate Professor
Plant and Environmental Sciences

"The New Mexico cotton breeding program was established in 1926 and has been led by five generations of breeders and geneticists. The program has released more than 30 Acala 1517 cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cultivars and numerous germplasm lines known for high fiber quality and Verticillium wilt (caused by Verticillium dahliae Kleb.) tolerance that have made substantial contributions to cotton breeding in the USA. Our research continues in that tradition, with emphasis on developing high fiber quality and high yielding Acala cultivars, and incorporating high levels of resistance to pink bollworm, bollworm, herbicides, Verticillium wilt, and root-knot nematodes in Acala and Pima cotton for New Mexico and the southwest region. We are continuing to work on developing a practical hybrid cotton seed production system based on cytoplasmical male sterility. Tools in quantitative, qualitative and molecular genetics are integrated into our breeding program. A significant portion of our effort involves developing functional molecular markers and identifying genes or quantitative trait loci ( QTLs ) for fiber quality, yield, agronomic traits, male fertility restoration, insect, disease and nematode resistance, and heat and drought tolerance in order to develop efficient marker-assisted selection strategies. Molecular mapping, physical mapping, candidate gene approach, and gene expression profiling are combined to locate and isolate candidate genes or QTLs of agronomic importance.

The most recent releases of cultivars are conventional Acala 1517-08 and herbicide resistant Acala 1518-09R."

This document was submitted by Jinfa Zhang, Associate Professor: Plant and Environmental Sciences