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Molecular diversity and identification of alleles for Verticillium wilt resistance in elite cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) germplasm
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Cotton is an important crop in the textile, food and pharmaceutical industries. In the present study, a panel of 108 elite cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) lines was genotyped with 177 genome-wide SSR markers to assess genetic diversity, linkage disequilibrium, population structure and association analyses. A total of 967 loci were assayed and the lines fell into four main groups with a mean genetic distance of 39%. The linkage disequilibrium (LD) decay rate was estimated to be 20–30 cm (r2 ≤ 0.5). Association analyses were performed with both general linear model and mixed linear model methods to identify SSR marker loci linked to Verticillium wilt resistance. Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that causes huge yield losses in cotton production throughout the world. A total of 26 marker loci distributed on 14 chromosomes were associated with resistance at p ≤ 0.05. Eight of the 26 associated marker loci were highly significant (p < 0.01). The phenotypic variation explained (r2) by individual markers ranged from 3.2% to 8.2%. Three of the 26 marker loci (JESPR153, JESPR274 and CIR218) were consistent with previous studies. Our results should be useful in improving Verticillium wilt resistance in cotton breeding lines.