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Response of cotton genotypes to water and heat stress: from field to genes

Iqbal, Muhammad, Ul-Allah, Sami, Naeem, Muhammad, Ijaz, Muhammad, Sattar, Abdul, Sher, Ahmad
Euphytica 2017 v.213 no.6 pp. 131
Gossypium hirsutum, analysis of variance, cotton, crop yield, drought, genes, genetic markers, genetic variation, genotype, heat, heat stress, heat tolerance, introgression, irrigation, marker-assisted selection, parents, plant breeding, selection criteria, sowing, stress tolerance, subtropics, tetraploidy, water stress, wild relatives
Cotton is a crop of tropical and subtropical regions but the seed cotton yield is highly influenced by abiotic stresses like drought and heat. Response of cotton genome to abiotic stresses is highly complex and involve many genes. A comprehensive study, involving cotton genotypes developed through conventional and synthetic tetraploid method, was designed to (i) study the introgression of heat and water stress tolerance by using wild relatives (ii) evaluate genetic markers for marker assisted selection against water and heat stress. Two separate experiments for water and heat stress tolerance with a common control were established. Treatments in each experiment include a control and a stress treatment. Heat stress was applied by sowing crop two month earlier than the control treatment, whereas water stress was imposed by withholding alternate irrigation. Analyses of variance depicted highly significant (P ≤ 0.01) effect of genotypes and both stresses on boll retention, boll weight and seed cotton yield. Interaction of genotypes with stress in both experiments was also highly significant (P ≤ 0.01). Genotypes derived from interspecific crosses performed consistently in stress conditions compared to control which prove it a reliable method to introgress stress related genes from wild parents. Four genes reported for water stress tolerance and five genes reported for heat stress tolerance were evaluated by field results for efficient marker assisted selection (MAS). Results verified drought stress genes but heat stress genes could not explain genetic variability caused by heat stress. It is concluded from the results that separate genes may be responsible for heat stress tolerance for vegetative and reproductive stages, therefore, selection criteria should include both the traits.