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Genetic variability of heat tolerance, and its effect on yield and fibre quality traits in upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

Azhar, F.M., Ali, Z., Akhtar, M.M., Khan, A.A., Trethowan, R.
Plant breeding 2009 v.128 no.4 pp. 356-362
Gossypium hirsutum, cell membranes, climate change, crop yield, fiber quality, genetic variation, heat stress, heat tolerance, hybrids, seed cotton, temperature, thermal stability
Global temperature is rising because of increasing concentrations of CO₂ and other greenhouse gases (e.g. methane, nitrous oxide, etc.) in the atmosphere because of the excessive use of fossil fuels. High temperature causes heat stress which reduces crop productivity. The development of heat-tolerant varieties is feasible and will help mitigate the effects of climate change. Fifty-one cotton accessions were screened in heat-stressed and non-stressed conditions in the glasshouse and field. Relative cell injury percentage (RCI %), a measure of cell membrane thermostability (CMT), was used to assess heat tolerance. Heat-tolerant accessions had more stable yield and yielded more seed cotton with better quality fibre than the heat-intolerant accessions across four environments. The responses of the 51 accessions to all four environments for the measured traits were strongly associated. RCI % of the accessions and hybrids was strongly and negatively associated with yield and fibre traits. CMT was concluded to be a useful technique for identification of heat-tolerant cotton.