China is taking the lead in the identification, testing, breeding, and application of a new cotton cultivar resistant to verticillium wilt. The Institute of Agro-Products Processing Science and Technology and the Institute of Plant Protection under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and Nanjing Agricultural University have published the results of a study called Breeding and Application of Zhongzhi Cotton Cultivars against Verticillium Wilt.
The research confirmed the resistance of existing Chinese cotton cultivars against verticillium wilt, said the project leader, Dai Xiaofeng. Such resistance is scientifically proven to be qualitative inheritance, and the inherited characteristic is produced by multiple genes.
The marker that closely links to the resistant genes has been identified, the project reports. According to the study, molecular markers help to rapidly and accurately identify the source of the resistance.
The new highly resistant cultivar, Zhongzhi Cotton 372, was used as maternal or paternal materials to cross with other cotton cultivars. As a result, a total of 128 resistant progenies were further screened, including cultivar Zhongzhi Cotton 2, which is resistant to verticillium wilt and cotton bollworm as well as being immune to Bacterial Blight. Currently, China plants 3.72 million hectares of Zhongzhi cotton cultivars that are resistant to Verticillium Wilt. These crops contribute $2 billion directly to the economy.
Verticillium wilt, caused by a soil-borne fungus, is a major cotton disease in China. Its pathogen can survive extremely long periods of time and accumulate in the soil. The disease may lead to a 10 to 15% yield loss.