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LOGO: Journal of Cotton Science


History and Progress in Cotton Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics in New Mexico

Authors: Jinfa Zhang
Pages: 191-210
Breeding and Genetics
DOI: (

The New Mexico Cotton Breeding Program was established in 1926 and has been led by five generations of breeders. The program has released 37 Acala 1517 and one short-staple Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) cultivars and numerous germplasm lines. Two Sea-Island G. barbadense L. cultivars have been released for production in the Mesilla Valley, NM. New Mexico germplasm has contributed to the development of 45% of the commercial cotton cultivars including almost all Acala cultivars in California, and has contributed to the improvement in fiber length and strength in U.S. cottons. Many Acala 1517 cultivars are tolerant or resistant to Verticillium wilt and bacterial blight. The recent releases include three transgenic Acala 1517 cultivars, one conventional and two glandless cultivars. The current research program focuses on fiber and seed quality (glandless) to develop elite germplasm with high yields and superior fiber quality and with resistance to Verticillium and Fusarium wilt, thrips, bacterial blight, leaf spot, cotton rust, and tolerance to drought and salinity. Upland × Pima introgression and development of the hybrid seed production system based on cytoplasmic male sterility and the haploid-producing system based on semigamy are also important aspects of the program. Extensive applications of genomic tools and approaches in the program include DNA marker and population development, linkage map construction, and quantitative trait locus mapping. In recent years, reduction in funding and lack of institutional support has hampered the program in delivering solutions to challenging issues such as Fusarium wilt race 4 faced by the cotton farmer.