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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


(Contemporary Issue) Attributes of Public and Private Cotton Breeding Programs

Authors: Daryl T. Bowman
Pages: 130-136
Breeding and Genetics

Reduction in number and size of public cotton (Gossypium barbadense and hirsutum L.) breeding programs and the parallel increase in private breeding efforts have resulted in many younger breeders not being trained in cotton breeding. As a service to these younger breeders and the well-established breeders, I surveyed U.S. cotton breeders, both public and private. The objective of this study was to report on many aspects of breeding methods used by private and public breeders. There continues to be a major effort in conventional cotton breeding by private breeders; nearly half of the public breeders’ effort is in conventional cultivar development using conventional breeding methods. Transgenic cultivars occupied the majority of the U.S. cotton acreage in 1999, but only 35% of private breeders’ efforts are in this area. Pedigree breeding schemes are followed by most private and public breeders. The majority of parental material for private breeders is from lines developed in-house, while public breeders use a more balanced source of in-house material, commercial cultivars, and other public germplasm. Both private and public breeders average 100 genetic combinations each year, resulting in 3700 nursery plots for private breeders and 600 nursery plots for public breeders. Selection pressure is low in the F2 and F3 generations but increases in the F4 generation for private breeders. Public breeders average 40% for all three generations. Breeders, both private and public, tend to start yield testing with F4 lines more than in any other generation. For all breeders, yield continues to be the prime factor in choosing parents.