Genomic analyses in cotton identify signatures of selection and loci associated with fiber quality and yield traits

Nature Genetics
Lei FangTianzhen Zhang

Abstract

Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) is the most important natural fiber crop in the world. The overall genetic diversity among cultivated species of cotton and the genetic changes that occurred during their improvement are poorly understood. Here we report a comprehensive genomic assessment of modern improved upland cotton based on the genome-wide resequencing of 318 landraces and modern improved cultivars or lines. We detected more associated loci for lint yield than for fiber quality, which suggests that lint yield has stronger selection signatures than other traits. We found that two ethylene-pathway-related genes were associated with increased lint yield in improved cultivars. We evaluated the population frequency of each elite allele in historically released cultivar groups and found that 54.8% of the elite genome-wide association study (GWAS) alleles detected were transferred from three founder landraces: Deltapine 15, Stoneville 2B and Uganda Mian. Our results provide a genomic basis for improving cotton cultivars and for further evolutionary analysis of polyploid crops.

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