Project Summaries

12-195  Project Manager: D. C. Jones


Dick L. Auld, Texas Tech University

Modern germplasm improvement programs must combine new and traditional technologies to solve problems limiting cotton seedling establishment in the cool spring soils common in West Texas. The combination of research in cotton genetics and molecular biology will be used to create and identify genomic locations of novel genes which reduce the saturated fatty acid concentration in cotton seed oils. This research will allow the development of cotton varieties with altered fatty acid synthesis pathways necessary for cotton varieties to emerge from cold soils.

Historically, stand establishment in the early spring is the most challenging stage of cotton production, especially in cooler climates such as the Texas High Plains. The recent loss of Temik® that was used to protect young cotton seedling from nematodes and insects has further compounded the difficulty of establishing good stands of cotton. In this study EMS was used to create a series of mutants with modest reductions in the concentration of palmitic acid from the normal of 25% to levels as low as 20 to 18%. All of the mutants selected were tested for low temperature germination and cold soil emergence.  Selected lines were then intercrossed to combine genes for low palmitic acid from both the A and D genomes of tetraploid cotton to derive lines with 14 to 17% palmitic acid concentrations in the oil. These experimental lines may be able to emerge from soils at temperatures as low as 55°F.

The initial objective of this research was to modify the storage oils in cottonseeds to reduce the level of palmitic acid (C16:0) to approximately 20% that would allow the seedlings to emerge from cold soils (55 to 60°F). We have also initiated work to stack two low palmitic acid mutant genes in the same line to allow further reductions of palmitic acid (14 to 17%). This low level of saturated fatty acid would allow cotton seedlings to rapidly emerge from very cold soils (47° to 50°F). Both the single and double low palm mutants would improve the nutritional value of cottonseed oil in both edible oil and full fat dairy rations.


Project Year: 2012

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