, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 199–214 | Cite as

Production of fertile hybrid germplasm with diploid Australian Gossypium species for cotton improvement

  • C.L. Brubaker
  • A.H.D. Brown
  • J.McD. Stewart
  • M.J. Kilby
  • J.P. Grace


The 17 wild Australian Gossypium species are distant diploid relatives of the commercial tetraploid cottons, G. barbadense L. and G. hirsutum L. They interest cotton breeders as a source of terpenoid-aldehyde-free seeds, a trait only found in five Australian Gossypium species. They elicit further interest because some species grow near current and projected cotton growing areas in Australia and thus could serve as unintentional recipients of transgenes from genetically engineered cotton cultivars. The utility of the wild Australian Gossypium species in cotton breeding depends on the ability to generate fertile hybrids, and to the extent this is possible under glasshouse conditions, it allows predictions regarding the probability that fertile hybrids between the transgenic cottons and spatially associated populations of wild species will arise without human manipulation. The Australian Gossypium species fall into three morphologically and cytologically distinct groups designated the C, G, and K genomes, The G-genome species hybridize most readily with G. arboretum (a diploid A-genome cultivated cotton), while the C- and K-genome species are more compatible with G. hirsutum (a tetraploid AD-genome cultivated cotton). These intergenomic hybrids are sterile, and the chromosome complement of the hybrids must be doubled prior to backcrossing to G. hirsutum. The only exceptions were four G. hirsutum × K-genome triploids, which exhibited limited female fertility when backcrossed to G. hirsutum. Two of the three diploid species geographically associated with commercial cotton fields (G. australe F. Mueller & G. rotundifolium Fryxell, Craven & Stewart) failed to produce hybrid progeny when pollinated with G. hirsutum pollen; the third species (G. sturtianum J.H. Willis) produced only 5 sterile triploids from 25 pollinations. Thus, the probability that wild species could serve as recipients of transgenes is functionally zero, especially in conjunction with the profound prezygotic barriers that separate the cultivated tetraploid cottons from their wild Australian relatives. Eighteen new fertile synthetic polyploids and 23 self-fertile derivatives of two synthetic hexaploids were produced. Synthetic tetraploids require greater effort to backcross than do synthetic hexaploids. These fertile hybrids represent a new avenue of introgression of genes from wild Australian Gossypium species into commercial cotton cultivars, an avenue limited only by the level of recombination.

breeding cotton germplasm Gossypium hybrids 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • C.L. Brubaker
    • 1
  • A.H.D. Brown
    • 1
  • J.McD. Stewart
    • 2
  • M.J. Kilby
    • 1
  • J.P. Grace
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Plant Biodiversity ResearchCSIRO Plant IndustryCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Agronomy DepartmentUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleU.S.A

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