, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 147-160

Germplasm evaluation and transfer of Verticillium wilt resistance from Pima (Gossypium barbadense) to Upland cotton (G. hirsutum)

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Abstract

Verticillium wilt (VW, Verticillium dahliae) is a worldwide destructive soil-borne fungal disease and employment of VW resistant cultivars is the most economic and efficient method in sustainable cotton production. However, information concerning VW resistance in current commercial cotton cultivars and transfer of VW resistance from Pima (Gossypium barbadense) to Upland (Gossypium hirsutum) cotton is lacking. The objective of the current study was to report findings in evaluating commercial cotton cultivars and germplasm lines for VW resistance in field and greenhouse (GH) experiments conducted in 2003, 2006, and 2007. In the study, 267 cultivars and germplasm lines were screened in the GH, while 357 genotypes were screened in the field. The results indicated that (1) VW significantly reduced cotton yield, lint percentage, 50% span length and micronaire, but not 2.5% span length and fiber strength, when healthy and diseased plants in 23 cultivars were compared; (2) some commercial cotton cultivars developed by major cotton seed companies in the US displayed good VW resistance; (3) many Acala cotton cultivars released in the past also had good VW resistance, but not all Acala cotton germplasm are resistant; (4) Pima cotton possessed higher levels of VW resistance than Upland cotton, but the performance was reversed when the root system was wounded after inoculation; (5) VW resistance in some conventional cultivars was transferred into their transgenic version through backcrossing; and (6) some advanced backcross inbred lines developed from a cross between Upland and Pima cotton showed good VW resistance. The successful development of VW resistant transgenic cultivars and transfer of VW resistance from Pima to Upland cotton implies that VW resistance is associated with a few genes if not a major one.