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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


History of Cotton Breeding and Genetics at the University of Arkansas

Authors: Freddie M. Bourland
Pages: 171-182
Breeding and Genetics
DOI: (

Cotton breeding research was initiated at the University of Arkansas (UA) in early 1900’s. Early work focused on evaluating cultivars and on making plant selections out of established cultivars. J.O. Ware who began breeding cotton in the early 1920’s studied the genetics and interrelationships of several cotton traits, and released several cultivars. In 1935, he became Senior Agronomist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Beltsville, MD, then returned to UA in 1950. Several breeders followed Ware at UA. L.M. Humphrey and Ware were responsible for a series of Rowden cultivars. From 1948 until 1986, UA maintained two cotton breeding programs, one on the main campus and the other at the Cotton Branch Station, Marianna, AR. The Marianna program, directed by C.A. Moosberg (1948-1972) and C.W. Smith (1974-1986), was responsible for the release of several Rex cultivars, two stripper cultivars, and Arkot 518. Based on the main campus, B.A. Waddle (1951-1986) continued some of Ware work, and focused on early maturity, seedling vigor, host plant resistance (including the Frego bract trait), and naked and tufted seed. J.McD. Stewart filled the position held by Waddle from 1986 until his death in 2012. His work primarily focused on germplasm exploration and introgression, and cotton biotechnology. In 1988, the two traditional breeding programs were merged into one campus-based program. The program was subsequently moved to the Northeast Research and Extension Center, Keiser, AR, in 1997. F.M. Bourland has led the program since 1988, and has been responsible for almost 100 germplasm and cultivar releases and has established methods for evaluating and selecting several cotton traits. The cotton breeding program at UA continues to develop well-adapted lines and concepts that promote profitable cotton production in Arkansas.