Cotton DNA Database Launched to Help Find Plant
Resistance By Jim
Core August 16, 2005
The Agricultural Research
Service has joined Cotton Incorporated (CI) and Clemson University Genomics
Institute (CUGI) today in
launching the Cotton Microsatellite Database online at:
Unlike other major crops, cotton did not have a publicly available
database for DNA markers. Lack of markers and maps has been a major limiting
factor in the development of DNA-based tools to identify important agronomic
traits and facilitate selection of plants based on these traits.
Cotton boll. Click the image for more
information about it.
DNA markers are small pieces of DNA that vary in length, depending on
the plant's genetic make-up. When a specific marker is associated with a gene
governing resistance to a specific pest or disease, it can be used as a
diagnostic tool to identify plants with potential resistance.
In Stoneville, Miss., geneticist
Scheffler, in the ARS
Genetics and Production Research Unit, and molecular biologist
Scheffler, from the agency's Mid-South Area
Laboratory, teamed up with grower-funded CI in Cary, N.C., and CUGI in
South Carolina to develop a DNA marker database for cotton.
CI funded the database with coordination from its vice president of
agricultural research, Roy Cantrell. Dorrie Main and co-workers at CUGI
developed the database. The Stoneville scientists are evaluating potential DNA
markers and working with CUGI to test the database.
To facilitate comparison of marker data from different research
groups, a standardized set of DNA from a range of cotton varieties and wild
species is being maintained by ARS geneticist
Yu in the
Germplasm Research Unit at College Station, Texas. ARS geneticist
Jenkins and colleagues in the
and Precision Agriculture Research Unit at Mississippi State, Miss., have
also contributed markers being tested at Stoneville. Other ARS locations,
public universities, research laboratories in France and China, and
cotton-breeding companies plan to contribute markers and information to the
This is only the first step toward developing a DNA marker database
and creating a map of the cotton genome.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.