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Quantitative Trait Loci Analysis of Fiber Quality Traits Using a Random-Mated Recombinant Inbred Population in Upland Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

David D. Fang, Johnie N. Jenkins, Dewayne D. Deng, Jack C. McCarty, Ping Li, Jixiang Wu
Biomed Central (BMC) Genomics 2014 v.15 pp. 1-14
Gossypium hirsutum, chromosomes, color, computer software, cotton, crop production, cultivars, fiber content, fiber quality, fineness, genetic polymorphism, genetic recombination, genome, genotype, inbred lines, inbreeding, marker-assisted selection, microsatellite repeats, parents, phenotypic variation, plant breeding, planting, quantitative trait loci, random mating, screening, self-pollination, Mississippi
Background: Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) accounts for about 95% of world cotton production. Improving Upland cotton cultivars has been the focus of world-wide cotton breeding programs. Negative correlation between yield and fiber quality is an obstacle for cotton improvement. Random-mating provides a potential methodology to break this correlation. The suite of fiber quality traits that affect the yarn quality includes the length, strength, maturity, fineness, elongation, uniformity and color. Identification of stable fiber quantitative trait loci (QTL) in Upland cotton is essential in order to improve cotton cultivars with superior quality using marker-assisted selection (MAS) strategy. Results: Using 11 diverse Upland cotton cultivars as parents, a random-mated recombinant inbred (RI) population consisting of 550 RI lines was developed after 6 cycles of random-mating and 6 generations of self-pollination. The 550 RILs were planted in triplicates for two years in Mississippi State, MS, USA to obtain fiber quality data. After screening 15538 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers, 2132 were polymorphic among the 11 parents. One thousand five hundred eighty-two markers covering 83% of cotton genome were used to genotype 275 RILs (Set 1). The marker-trait associations were analyzed using the software program TASSEL. At p < 0.01, 131 fiber QTLs and 37 QTL clusters were identified. These QTLs were responsible for the combined phenotypic variance ranging from 62.3% for short fiber content to 82.8% for elongation. The other 275 RILs (Set 2) were analyzed using a subset of 270 SSR markers, and the QTLs were confirmed. Two major QTL clusters were observed on chromosomes 7 and 16. Comparison of these 131 QTLs with the previously published QTLs indicated that 77 were identified before, and 54 appeared novel. Conclusions: The 11 parents used in this study represent a diverse genetic pool of the US cultivated cotton, and 10 of them were elite commercial cultivars. The fiber QTLs, especially QTL clusters reported herein can be readily implemented in a cotton breeding program to improve fiber quality via MAS strategy. The consensus QTL regions warrant further investigation to better understand the genetics and molecular mechanisms underlying fiber development.