Reference genome sequences of two cultivated allotetraploid cottons, Gossypium hirsutum and Gossypium barbadense
© Mayur Kakade/Getty
By creating high-quality reference genomes of two cotton species, researchers have shed light on the genetic control of fibre quality. This will open the door towards breeding that combines the best of both species.
Two cotton species account for more than 90% of global fibre production. One is broadly cultivated for its high yield, while the other is favoured for the quality of its fibres. Existing draft genomes of these two species are fragmented and incomplete.
Now, a team led by researchers at Huazhong Agricultural University has combined single-molecule sequencing and other techniques to assemble high-quality reference genomes of both species.
The researchers then compared the genomes to identify commonalities and differences. This, together with analysis of lines produced by crossing the two species, enabled them to find genomic regions linked with improved fibre quality.
These findings provide resources to improve our understanding of cotton and to guide future breeding programs.
- Nature Genetics 51, 224–229 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0282-x