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Marker-Assisted Breeding as Next-Generation Strategy for Genetic Improvement of Productivity and Quality: Can It Be Realized in Cotton?

DOI: 10.1155/2011/670104

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Abstract:

The dawdling development in genetic improvement of cotton with conventional breeding program is chiefly due to lack of complete knowledge on and precise manipulation of fiber productivity and quality. Naturally available cotton continues to be a resource for the upcoming breeding program, and contemporary technologies to exploit the available natural variation are outlined in this paper for further improvement of fiber. Particularly emphasis is given to application, obstacles, and perspectives of marker-assisted breeding since it appears to be more promising in manipulating novel genes that are available in the cotton germplasm. Deployment of system quantitative genetics in marker-assisted breeding program would be essential to realize its role in cotton. At the same time, role of genetic engineering and in vitro mutagenesis cannot be ruled out in genetic improvement of cotton. 1. Rationale for Genetic Improvement of Cotton Fiber Plant trichomes exhibit number of biologically important roles including protection against biotic and abiotic factors, water absorption, secretion, alluring mechanisms, and more importantly, seed dispersal [1]. While the majority of plant trichomes are multicellular, cotton (Gossypium spp.) produces unicellular seed trichomes commonly called “fibers,” which are of considerable economic importance and hence make cotton as the leading cash crop in the world. Cotton remains the most miraculous fiber under the sun, even after 8000 years of its first use, and no other fiber come close to duplicating all of the desirable characteristics combined in cotton. Cotton plays important role in everyone’s life from the time we dry our faces on a soft cotton towel in the morning until we slide between fresh cotton sheets at night. It provides thousands of useful products and supports millions of jobs as it moves from field to fabric. Thus, cotton has its vital role in the economic, political, and social affairs of the world. World consumption of cotton fiber is approximately 27 million metric tons per year (http://www.cotton.org/). India ranks second in global cotton production and accounts for approximately 25% of the world’s total cotton area and 16% of global cotton production. The cotton industry in India has 1,543 spinning units, more than 281 composite mills, 1.72 million registered looms, and an installed capacity of 36.37 million spindles [2]. The textile industry employs 30 million people directly and is the second largest employer after agriculture and contributes 29.9% of the Indian agricultural gross domestic product [3]. Though

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