A better understanding of the number of fibers per seed in cotton
Cranmer, Leigh Marie
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Over the past century, cotton research has led to significant improvements in cotton yield. Since 1984, however, the average yield change has decreased, and national yearly changes in cotton yield have been negative since 1990. This is bad news for an industry that needs stability to survive and compete in an increasingly competitive world market. Cotton lint yield can be broken dovra into several different, but intricately related, components. It has been proposed that an increase in one of these yield components, the number of fibers per seed, could lead to an overall increase in yield. Therefore, the number of fibers per seed and cottonseed surface area were studied to gain a more thorough understanding of these factors. This study found that the number of fibers per seed was indeed a variable trait, but varied much less when fiber quality was good. Data indicated that both the type of ginning (hand or saw-ginning) and environmental conditions played a significant role in the number of fibers per seed, Immature cotton exhibited an artificially higher number of fibers per seed due to an abundance of broken fibers. Saw-ginned cotton also displayed an artificial increase in the number of fibers per seed due to broken fibers, caused by the harshness of processing. Because of these effects, it was suggested that hand-ginning cotton samples would be best in breeding programs looking at the number of fibers per seed. In addition to these effects, a significant effect of genotype on the number of fibers per seed was discovered. Genotypes were ranked similarly over most years and locations, indicating that this could be a trait of interest in a cotton breeding program.