Species composition / contribution in India to cotton area and production
Cotton has played a great role in the global and Indian economies since immemorial time. The antiquity of cotton in the Indian subcontinent has been traced to the 4th millennium BC. The fabrics dated approximately 3000 BC, recovered from the Mohenjo-Daro excavations in Sind (Pakistan), were identified to have originated from cotton plants. The close relatedness of those old fabrics to the
Cotton is grown globally on an average in about 33-35 million hectares annually representing less than 2.5% of the world’s arable land , under a great diversity of agro-climatic conditions and widely varied farming practices. Cotton is reported to be grown in more than 100 countries being an important cash crop for the farmers and having great influence on the economy of such countries . More than 120 million family units are engaged directly in cotton production in the world and about 350 million people are estimated to work in the wider cotton industry each year . The most prominent cotton growing countries include Peoples Republic of China, India, USA, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Australia, some African states, Israel, etc., .
There are four cultivated species of
The spinnable fibre (lint) is the primary product for growing cotton for textile use. For each kilogram of lint produced, it also results in output of 1.4 to 1.6 kilograms of cottonseed. The estimated recent annual production of cotton fibre in the world is around 25 to 26 million metric tons of lint roughly valued at US$ 40-42 billion . Cotton is the most important natural fibre used in spinning to produce apparel, home furnishings and industrial products and represents about 35-40% of all fibres used in textiles.
As much as 50-55 million tons of cottonseed is produced worldwide annually in recent times valued at US$ 7-8billion . Cotton has become an important oilseed in the world and can be fed as whole seed to dairy cattle (Ruminant animals) or crushed in oil mills to obtain oil, hulls, meal and linters. The oil is used for human consumption after special refining processes to remove the toxic gossypol. The hulls and meals are good sources of vegetable protein for animal and the linters are used as a chemical cellulose source for manufacturing various personal care products and in high quality paper (used for currency printing in USA and EU) . All these add value to cottonseed at each type of product and processing. Cotton has a significant role in meeting essential needs of clothing, besides food and feed and with a projected 9 billion human population and increase in animal production and the global textile fibre requirements projected at 180 million metric tons, the share of cotton should be increased to 40-50 million metric tons by 2050 . Cotton area in India has increased significantly after the transgenic cotton was introduced in 2002-03 and over 90 per cent of the cotton grown is represented by
In this chapter, the information pertaining to germplasm history, contents and location of germplasm resource, funding sources, sharing within India, characterization, evaluation and utilization of germplasm, data bases, novel trends and perspectives and conclusions have been presented.
2. History of cotton germplasm in India
In India, the collection and conservation of plant genetic resources (PGR) of crop species for utilization in crop improvement programmes were initiated with the establishment of the Imperial Agricultural Research Institute in 1905 at Pusa village, Darbhanga District, Bengal (now in Bihar) state. This institute was shifted to New Delhi in 1936 and later in 1947, was renamed the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI). The early conservation efforts of PGR involved frequent multiplication and storage of seeds of crops by the breeders in the Botany Division of the Institute . To strengthen these efforts, a unit was set up for the assembly of global germplasm in the division in 1941, which was upgraded as the Division of Plant introduction in 1961. The Plant Introduction Division of IARI provided the necessary impetus and leadership at the national level, particularly for the assembly of PGR through introduction from different parts of the world and their subsequent conservation. The establishment of crop(s) based research institutes further extended and strengthened these efforts. The Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack was established in 1946. Isolated efforts were also being made by the researchers in the State Department of Agriculture, which got a boost with the establishment of the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, the first SAU, came into being in 1960 .
Crop improvement research, including PGR management was greatly strengthened and focused with the establishment of multidisciplinary, multicenter “All India Co-ordinated Crop Improvement Projects” starting with that for maize germplasm set up in 1957. The project had coordinated research centres mostly in SAUs and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutes located in important crop growing areas. Presently, there are 40 multi-crop or single crop-based institutes, project directorates and national research centres, 37 coordinated projects and 31 SAUs. The All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (AICCIP) was established in 1967 with headquarters at Coimbatore, while the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) with headquarters at Nagpur was established in 1976 simultaneously with the CICR Regional Station for South zone at Coimbatore (including AICCIP headquarters), while the CICR Regional Station for the north zone at Sirsa (Haryana State) came into existence by annexing the IARI Regional Station at Sirsa in 1984. The germplasm accessions available at all the cotton breeding stations of the state agricultural university centres all over the country were collected by forming a national germplasm advisory committee at CICR and the collections were also augmented by exchange from other countries, by germplasm surveys and by accessing the elite breeding material available from time to time at various SAU cotton breeding stations. By periodical evaluation, duplicate germplasm accessions were eliminated by growing in the fields of the CICR and its regional stations. The germplasm purification was followed by characterization for 76 characters as per Germplasm Index Card, catalogued, data computerized and seeds conserved in medium term and short term cold storage at CICR and long term storage at the NBPGR New Delhi by depositing selfed (self-fertilized) seeds. Working collections were constituted in all the four cultivated species germplasm and made available to Indian institutions for breeders’ use in crop improvement. Thus CICR functioned as “The National Gene Bank of Cotton for India”.
These projects, ICAR institutes and SAUs maintained and conserved working collections of germplasm of different crops through frequent seed regeneration and storage under ambient conditions. For example, the Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and Indira Gandhi Agricultural University, Raipur conserved rice genetic resources; the “All India Co-ordinated Maize Improvement Project” and the “All India Co-ordinated Wheat Improvement Project”, with the headquarters at IARI, maintained maize and wheat germplasm, respectively. The centres of coordinated projects supported these efforts across the country.
At the national level, the ICAR is responsible for research, initial transfer of technology in agriculture and policies related thereto (including PGR management). The ICAR upgraded the Plant Introduction Division, IARI in 1976 to the status of an institute, the National Bureau of Plant Introduction and later, in 1977, renamed it as the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR). The NBPGR has the mandate to manage PGR including collection, introduction, exchange, quarantine, evaluation, conservation and use. Thus, NBPGR, under the umbrella of ICAR, functions as the nodal agency for PGR management and closely collaborates with ICAR institutes and SAUs for PGR management, particularly evaluation, characterization and utilization .
2.1. Changing species composition
In India, cotton is grown under widely varying agro-climatic conditions represented by regions falling 8°-32°N latitude, 70°-80° E longitude, elevation range of 0-950 meters and annual rainfall range of 250-1500 mm. Cotton has been cultivated since time immemorial in India. Cotton growing, types of cotton grown and cotton textiles produced in Indian subcontinent have earned global fame for over 5000 years. Until the 17th century, India was growing only the diploid (2n=26) cultivated cottons (also referred to as
From cultivation of purebred varieties of various species, it changed from 1970s after the H x H and H x B and even diploid
The current total area under cotton is estimated as 11.7 million hectares and the output as 6.46 million metric tons of lint (along with estimated 13 million tons of cottonseed) in 2013-2014 . The trend of change in species composition is indicated in Table 1 and Figure 1.
|Total of all 4 cultivated species||4.40||0.39 MMT||7.50.||2.17||11.70.||6.46|
|Hybrid cotton (Hybrid cotton era from 1970)All hybrids||-||-||2.10||0.825||-||-|
2.2. Germplasm needs for India’s cotton improvement
Germplasm demand depends on various considerations and criteria. Primarily, it depends on the predominant species grown, genetic constitution of the cultivar / hybrid developed for large scale cultivation, the fibre quality requirements of the textile industry and export needs and incidentally various byproduct utility potential. The future attention of the breeders may be more towards the improvement of the
Wide adaptation: agronomic and ecological stability including-Areas of cultivation and their agro-climatic conditions, soil fertility, temperature both day and night temperatures, rainfall characteristics (onset, duration, intensity and occurrence characteristics), adaptation and other factors (like adaptation to various abiotic stresses such as late sowings, droughts, excess rainfall at critical phases of crop growth and major weather aberrations).
Response to advanced production technologies: this will include higher fertilizer use, higher planting densities, mechanization of cultivation practices with insect resistant cotton, chemical herbicide use for weed management and other practices like constraints management, manual and machine picking of cotton, double cropping patterns, continuous improvement in yield per hectare).
Resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses: this includes resistance/tolerance to various kinds of pest and disease reactions and abiotic factors causing serious recurring yield losses and adverse effects on fibre quality.
Cotton requirements for the textile industry: the total quantitative demands of national textile consumption of cotton, extra-factory consumption and export needs (including qualitative needs in terms of share of various staple types like short staple, medium staple, superior medium, long staple and extra-long staple and fibre quality parameters consistent with the desired levels for each of above staple categories besides for various spinning systems).
Improving the utility of cottonseeds: important aspects include elimination of gossypol, increased oil content and improved fatty acid profiles of the oil and protein in seed etc., to improve the utility value of seed and its nutritional qualities for food and feed.
Specialty cotton requirements: these are based on considerations for production of organic cotton and naturally colour-linted cottons with appreciable fibre quality parameters for spinning and weaving, although the market requirement is low at less than 1% of the global production of cotton at present.
Considerations for newer breeding goals: this is specially for India and elsewhere in the world for the demands of the 21st century including suitability of plant architecture for higher plant densities with high yield per hectare for machine harvesting, tolerance to drought and adverse weather situations related to emerging climate change patterns, resistance to sucking pests, mealy bugs and whitefly induced cotton leaf curl virus disease and reducing the duration of cotton for less water use and fitment into double cropping patterns etc. [4,14,15,10,16].
3. Genetic resources of cotton — Content and location
The details pertaining to all cotton genetic resource holdings and their locations, evaluations and conservation are presented below:
3.1. Wild species and related stocks
Cotton plant belongs to the family
In addition, 82 perennials, 141 land races
3.2. Genetic resources of cultivated cottons
The collections-accessions reportedly available mainly in the CICR Nagpur gene bank [or in its regional stations at Coimbatore especially for
|Land races/wild stocks||7|
|Land races / wild stocks||1/0|
|Germplasm and all other accessions||1877|
|Germplasm and all other accessions||530|
3.3. Germplasm exploration and collection
The exploration of certain regions in India was carried out by the Germplasm Advisory Committee (GPAC) involving the CICR and the NBPGR in seven expeditions. The areas represented formerly predominant areas of Asiatic cotton cultivation in Southern and Central India, NE Hill regions with
|1977||CICR/NBPGR||ICAR||Assam and Meghalaya||High ginning, big long bolls, loculi retention after bursting|
|1978||CICR/GPAC||ICAR||Tinnies tract of Tamil Nadu||Diploid cultivated variants||Introgressed types of early introductions|
|1979||CICR/GPAC/UAS/GAU||ICAR||Saurashtra region in Gujarat and Raichur area in Karnataka||Closed boll types, round boll, storm proof types|
|1981||CICR||ICAR||Malwa plateau of Madhya Pradesh||Local variants, cold resistance|
|1984||CICR/NBPGR||ICAR||Assam and Manipur||High seed number per boll, long big bolls, high ginning types|
|1986||NBPGR||ICAR||Gujarat western tract||Resistance to moisture stress, high yield potential|
|1987||NBPGR/CICR||ICAR||Assam regions||Big boll, higher boll numbers, abiotic resistance|
4. Funding sources for cotton germplasm activities
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi is the main funding agency for all the germplasm related activities in cotton and the ICAR is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) of the Government of India. The Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) Nagpur, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) New Delhi and also Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), Mumbai are national level Institutes under the ICAR to take care of all cotton research related activities including germplasm related matters. The ICAR may seek collaboration with the FAO in germplasm exploration and collection activities as and when such activities are planned. The responsibility for cotton germplasm is mainly vested with the CICR. The CICR has played a pivotal role in germplasm acquisition, maintenance, evaluation and promoting utilization in breeding and other related researches.
India is probably the third richest country in general and in certain respects probably the richest in the world in its total holdings and diversity of cotton genetic resources including wild species, cultivated species and even certain perennial genotypes of cotton . The National Gene Bank of Cotton in India is located at the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur including its regional station at Coimbatore. The total collection represents almost entirely cultivated accessions of
High level of coordination is being achieved in germplasm exchange and utilization with the world level International Institute for Plant Genetic Resources and national level institutions (NBPGR, CICR, CIRCOT and SAUs), The availability of equipment and techniques for mass screening for several parameters in the laboratory, in the fields and glass houses, has made possible to generate precise data in various environments and enabled to have a new-look and re-look at the germplasm for various breeding and gene deployment strategies. It also helped to develop varieties and hybrids for meeting the demands of the farmers, the textiles industry for various end-uses and to overcome inter-fibre competition based on consumer preferences and the cottonseed utilization and biomass utilization industries. Now more information has been accumulated to improve cottonseed yield and quality profile useful for agro-based industrial exploitation. This is to meet human needs for edible oil, protein and cellulose to contribute to enhanced food and nutritional security and also develop various by-products for use as animal feed and further processing in ancillary industries [27, 10].
5. Sharing of germplasm resources
Sharing of germplasm may take place as per Government of India policies and based on inter-country government protocols and exchange programmes on mutual basis of agreements, if any. Within the country, the germplasm is readily available for public sector research institutions carrying out research on cotton and related activities.
6. Characterization, evaluations and utilization
Based on the work done at the CICR in cooperation with the CIRCOT, NBPGR and SAU Centres over the past few decades, the various aspects have been presented below:
6.1. Germplasm Index Card (GIC)
A GIC was designed and distributed for use by cotton breeders all over India. The GIC was designed by the Central Institute for Cotton Research, Nagpur based on the recommendations of the National Germplasm Advisory Committee on Cotton constituted by the CICR under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). This card contains some 76 important characters of cotton plant and produce and is included in the Cotton Genetic Resources Catalogue published by the CICR in 1990  It is based on the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources (IBPGR) model with suitable modifications and various characters, their descriptors and descriptor states for cotton for precise evaluation of genetic resources of cotton. Common and standard procedures were also provided for recording observations with comparable uniformity over locations. Provision was made for recording data on all quality attributes of fibre (technological characters) as well as cottonseed and biomass, harvest index etc. (Figure 2).
6.2. Cotton genetic resources catalogue
The Germplasm Index Card designed by the CICR was used as the basis for germplasm cataloguing. The Catalogue of Cotton Genetic Resources was compiled based on germplasm data gathered all over the country, particularly at CICR Nagpur, Maharashtra state (Central zone) and its regional centres at Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu (Southern zone) and Sirsa in Haryana state (Northern zone) representing all the three major cotton growing zones of the country. Data for special applications were also recorded by the departments of Pathology, Entomology, Soil Science Agronomy, Physiology, Biochemistry etc. Fibre quality data were generated by the Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), Mumbai and its regional units and that for oil content and seed oil index were obtained at the CICR by using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and other instruments .
Close collaboration for data recording and evaluation was ensured between the CICR, the CIRCOT, Mumbai, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) New Delhi, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi and all the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs) in cotton growing states of the country as partners with the CICR as members of the Germplasm Advisory Committee for Cotton. Average data over 2-3 seasons were taken into consideration for deciding on the potential values of each germplasm accession. The data have been computerized by the CICR. Multi-location data were also generated for field performance, wherever possible and made available to regional breeding centres.
6.3. Selected list of superior germplasm
Based on germplasm evaluation over locations and seasons, the elite accessions for characters of high economic importance in cotton representing all the four cultivated species especially for early maturity, plant architecture, yield influencing attributes like boll number, boll weight and high ginning, seed quality and stress tolerance etc., were sorted out from the total germplasm evaluated. Some of the elite germplasm accessions identified species-wise in the cotton gene pool  are indicated in Table 5.
|Early maturity (140-150days)||TXORSC 801-79, Acala 8-1 x Tamcot Sp21, Acala 69/5, D244-10, Riverina poplar. U. aRk, d203-5, d238-13-5,USSR n. Ac.83 (RKS), MCU7, SIMA-1, PKV081, NHS1412, LRA5166, BN, Narasimha, LRK516, PKV442|
|Dwarf (below 80cm)||USSR6248, Acala8861 x CA491Early F-8, Acala 1577-7780,TXORSC 80-1-79, TxcaMd21-5-78, SIMA 1, PKV081|
|Compact plant type||54727, USSR 6250,PRS72, PRS74,NHS1412, DCI 118|
|Bacterial blight resistance||Tx Maroon 2-78, TXORHU1-78, Tamcot CAMDE, Tamcot SP37,|
Tamcot SP 215, Tamcot SP23, RebaB50, 101-102B, BJA592
|High boll weight "/>5.5g||T120-76, CP188, Acala 8-1xTamcot SP215, 108F,Hopicala, NC Smooth 1, 133F, Empire WR61, DS56,DS59, Tashkant 1|
|High boll number||FTA MDH133, Deltapine 90, MDH 2, LRA 5166, NHS 1412, Narasimha|
|High ginning (40%)||Nc177-16-30, Arkot 2-1,Superokra, NC Hairy, IRMA23, U585-12, Half & Half, Kirghis A2, 9030H|
|High yield||Reba Pvt9, Delcot 311, Aleppo 40, Deltapine 16, Tashkent 3, Pee Dee 2164, Demeter-iii(1), S1291, 149F, 152F, B4 Empire, DS56, DS 59, SIMA1, LRA5166, MCU5, MCU7, MCU10, F414, NH1412, Suman, Narasimha, Anjali,|
|High yield||25-1-3, K3475, CBS34, C 6002-3, ERB4492,ERB 13552, SIV 135, USSR mix 76, CV76, EC I 34390, EC I 32374, SB 289E, SB1085-6|
|High seed oil "/>20%||79/Lohit, Behnoor, AKA12, H4616, Ac733, AKH4, Comilla, 30820, 30840, Gao 16, CB-VIII, Gao 16-CB4, Gao 16-CB7, Coconados 5, Chineese Broad lobe, Chineese Narrow Lobe, Chineese Spotless|
|High Yield||G27, Lohit, AKH4, LD 230, LD 133, LD 135, LD 141, LD 143, AKA 28, AKA 8401, H46, H47, Bani 306, Ac types (PAU), Nanded 3883, Desi 52, Coconadas White|
|Long staple||LS1, LS2, LS3, 2927, H511,Adonicum, Sel 32-1, K5567, K7, K8, K9, K10|
|General good||5495. Suj M3-3-5, EPSB, Russian 9,Baluchisthan, Kumpta, G.|
The estimated numbers of elite types with relatively high performance for various characters in the
|High stable yield performance||380||16||300||31||-|
|High boll weight||145||5||150||20||-|
|High boll number potential||140||3||60||45||2|
|High seed weight||330||10||40||20||-|
|High lint index||249||12||30||12||-|
|Micronaire value (3.5-4.0)||190||30||2||50||4|
|High span length||220||60||50||40||-|
|High fibre strength||145||50||180||55||5|
|Compact to medium plant type||42||5||10||3||-|
|High sympodial branching||275||12||40||20||2|
|High seed oil content||75||10||60||25||-|
|High biomass potential||400||10||120||45||12|
|High harvest index||120||1||15||10||-|
|High seed number per boll||230||2||20||30||-|
|Insect pests & disease resistance||280||10||many||many||50|
|CMS, GMS and Restorer sources||34||-||2||-||3|
|High coarse absorbent types||15||-||100||10||-|
|Drought tolerance potential||50||-||300||150||15|
|Naked seeded types||5||-||1||-||3|
|Delayed morphogenesis of gossypol||-||-||-||-||3|
|Low gossypol gland types||60||-||10||5||-|
|High fuzzy types||100||-||200||50||4|
6.4. Range of variability
The extent of variability was assessed for leaf attributes (shape, pattern of lobes and size), calyx shape and size, burst bolls (shape, size, boll opening type and lint colour), seeds (seed size, fuzz content and fuzz colour) and lint (length, density and colour) and the wide range of variability was portrayed in an exhibit form. Some of the wild species especially for delayed morphogenesis, petal spot pattern and colour-linted sample were also included in the exhibit. The range of variability in cotton germplasm accessions of
6.5. Inherent potentiality identified in different wild species
Inherent potentiality identified in different species of
|Fibre quality||Fibre length|
|High ginning outturn|
|Disease resistance||Bacterial blight|
|Other attributes||Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS)|
|Delayed morphogenesis of gossypol glands|
Some useful character transfer into
Some useful character transference (introgressions) into cultivars of the two tetraploid species has been achieved and based on [3, 28, 19, 24, 29, 30], some of the achievements include jassid resistance potential from
6.6. Germplasm utilization
In cotton, the approximate number of collections maintained in various centres in the four cultivated species and wild stocks including advanced intermediate breeding lines was estimated at 20,750, but it included duplicates and repeat collections since each Centre maintained as per local breeders’ needs . Enormous intra and inter-racial variability occurs in-
The success in hybrid cotton in India was achieved at Surat where an
Possession of germplasm in numerical strength in R&D Centres and in a nation is really a great asset. Unless and until the resources are utilized effectively in crop improvement and significant achievements of farming and commercial value is demonstrated, the conservation and maintenance is not really justified. Considering the huge cost involving staff, infrastructure like fields, glass houses and equipment, besides recurring contingencies, a proper strategy should be in place to screen all germplasm and constitute the most elite breeders’ working collections for breeders’ use. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) basis to enable breeders to obtain germplasm would pay high dividends for the nation in intensifying crop improvement. A suitable global and national policy to share germplasm for breeding requirements may be evolved and adopted for supporting the cotton improvement researches both in the public and private sector R&D Units. Quality of maintenance of germplasm must be kept up at a higher level to maintain purity for the attributes for which each accession is noted for and maintained for original attributes without exercising selection for new attributes .
In India, several varieties and hybrid cotton cultivars have been developed through interspecific hybridization and many of them were released for cultivation from time to time in the last sixty years. Some of them also became promising parents for developing superior hybrids. Details of the salient achievements  are presented in Table 8.
|Badnawar 1, Khandwa 1, Khandwa 2||JNKVV Indore|
|SRT1, Deviraj (170 C02), Gujarat 67 (G67)||GAU Surat|
|Devitej (134 Co2 M)||GAU Surat|
|MCU2, MCU5||TNAU Coimbatore|
|PKV 081||Dr. PDKV, Akola|
|Rajat||Dr. PDKV, Akola|
|AKA 8401||Dr. PDKV, Akola|
|F1 Commercial Hybrid cottons|
|Varalakshmi, DCH 32, DHB 9||UAS Dharwad|
|G. Cot. DH7 & G. Cot. DH 9||GAU Surat|
|MDCH 201||MAHYCO Seeds private Ltd Jalna (MS)|
|NHB 12||Marathwada Aricultural University (MAU) Nanded|
|TCHB 213||TNAU Coimbatore|
|HB 224, Shruthi||CICR Regional Station, Coimbatore|
A large number of
The extent of variability in germplasm compared to standard cultivars from agricultural, trade, textile and industrial attributes, approximate number of types with elite performance for various characters of breeding importance in the National Gene Bank have been made accessible to cotton breeders in various centres for guidance and utilization in crop improvement for various agro-climatic zones of India. National Gene Bank of Cotton comprising a significant representation of global pool of genetic variability in India has provided a unique opportunity for cotton breeders and other researcher scientists for accelerating the progress of crop improvement. Studies have been carried out on a significant number of accessions of
6.7. Databases of cotton germplasm
The cotton databases are maintained by the CICR, Nagpur. The germplasm holdings maintained undergoes constant change periodically based on additions and deletions. Accordingly, the Cotton Gene Bank of the CICR, Nagpur holds a rich repository and global collection of cotton germplasm numbering 10,597 as reported for 2012-13 including newer accessions consisting geographically and genetically diverse
7. Cotton genetic resources conservation
After initial evaluation, till now some purified bulk seeds of a significant number of accessions have been deposited at long term storage modules at the NBPGR New Delhi. The working collections and other accessions are periodically rejuvenated under safe conditions and pure seeds maintained in medium term cold storage modules at the CICR. The elite working collections identified from the gene pool are further screened by various departments of the institute for all unsolved and emerging problems and also used for further up-gradation of attribute expressions by breeding and selection. The species and some perennials are maintained in in-situ conditions. The new accessions have been acquired from various sources periodically including survey and collections in cooperation with NBPGR and IPGRI. Detailed account of conservation of germplasm holdings of all crops in India was reported by .
8. Novel trends and perspectives
Cotton is being challenged on two fronts: on the production side, cotton is competing with food, feed and biofuel crops for acreage and on the consumption aspects; cotton’s textile market share is being challenged by man-made and synthetic fibres, in various ways. Cotton has an image of being renewable, environmentally friendly, traceable and comfortable and has still to compete with man-made fibres and synthetic due to the latter’s improving technology and functionality. The global cotton industry has been witnessing very dynamic changes since the turn of the 21st century [17, 36, 41). Cotton is an important global commodity and there are incredible efforts in agriculture and cotton to attend to the social, environmental and economic factors and ensure continual improvement, investment, research and sharing of best practices .
8.1. Various new considerations for re-evaluation of germplasm
In the context of changing scenario in various aspects concerning cotton, it has become necessary to evaluate the germplasm for several new parameters and enable their utilization in crop improvement for realizing various targeted goals. Some of the aspects requiring examination of old and new germplasm from these perspectives are suggested in Table 9.
|Quantum jumps in yield of lint||Plant conformation for higher planting densities, high boll weight, compactness of plant type, shorter sympodial branches with synchronous boll bursting, high ginning outturn, high lint index etc.; high harvest index and cost benefit ratios|
|Fibre quality for competing / coexistence with man-made / synthetic fibres for improving the share of cotton in textile use||High fibre strength, higher fibre elongation of over 6-7, high level of fibre maturity, amenability for imparting easy care properties|
|Economics of production especially reducing the cost of production and environmental pollution||High level of resistance to biotic stresses, resistance to reemerging sucking pest complex, mealy bugs and other insect pests like whitefly that acts as a carrier of cotton leaf curl virus disease, ability to withstand weed competition and amenability for herbicide tolerance in cultivar development, improved and consistent yield potential under rain fed conditions under low cost technologies in cultivation, improved competitive ability for yield in relation to competing crops|
|Sustainability of high production levels||Ability to give stable yields under varied environments, adaptation to low cost technologies of crop management, additional advantages from quality and yield of byproducts derived|
|Contribution to food security in addition to lint fibre production||Higher seed yield from larger planting density & cultivation of hybrids with high vigour, stable and higher levels of oil content, superior nutritional qualities of oil and protein from seed, freedom from gossypol in harvested seeds, higher biomass with higher harvest index, high seed index, non-fuzzy seeds or with low seed hair density|
|Suitability for mechanization of harvesting cotton||Ideal plant conformations for irrigated and rain fed cotton cultivars, rapid development of bolls to maturity, appropriate plant height stability with amenability for efficient harvesting, boll weight above 5-6g, and high boll load consistent with higher planting densities|
|Organic cotton production ( current demand is low, but may increase over time)||High yield potential and stability of yield under organic farming conditions in rain fed and irrigated areas, development of appropriate fibre quality with organic inputs and management systems,|
|Naturally colour-linted cotton production under isolation from normal cotton growing areas||Expanding the range and intensity / stability of colours of lint fibres, consistent improvement in the fibre properties desired for better spinning like higher strength, optimum maturity with appropriate Mv. (Micronaire value) and improvement in length of fibres for medium, long and extra-long staple categories, higher ginning outturn|
|Research & development for improving short and extra-long staple cotton production and removing the imbalance in availability in all classes as per textile industry demands||Higher agronomic adaptability of ELS varieties of |
|Breeding superior||The |
|Pre-breeding ||Higher boll weight, reduced duration, phenotypic stability of plant conformity, high ginning and short sympodial (fruiting) branches with synchronous boll development pattern.|
|Pest and disease resistance||Compatible parents for hybrids without susceptibility to New wilt / quick wilt in hybrids judged by physiological and agronomic parameters|
|Compatibility with competing crops in mixed cropping and multiple cropping situations||Increased early vigour, rapid fruiting ability, resistance to interplant competition in the early stage of mixed crops with cotton, optimum leaf area index and resistance tolerance to moisture stress, high photosynthetic efficiency etc.|
|Breeding for withstanding drought and other climatic aberrations in the context of climate change||Drought resistance attributes and improved physiologically efficient germplasm with high water use efficiency (WUE), reduced crop maturity duration fitting into rainfall patterns.|
8.2. Role of private seed companies in germplasm development-a new trend
Prior to the formation of National Seeds Corporation and the State Seed Corporations during the 1960s to 1970s in the Public sector, the entire responsibility of cultivar development, seed multiplication and seed distribution coupled with extension rested with the government agencies and even farmer to farmer seed exchanges. After the Seed Corporations were established, the responsibility for producing breeder seeds rested with the original breeder in the research centres, but the further stages of seed multiplication, quality control and distribution were taken over by State Seed Corporations. With the opening up of breeding and seed development to private sector after 1970s, the private sector started developing hybrid cotton genotypes of a proprietary nature and started the seed business right by establishing their own R&D Units approved by the Department of Science and Technology and ICAR. The parental secrecy was sacrosanct for remaining in seed business and the private seed companies started developing their own parental genotypes and developing superior hybrid combinations and undertook supply of quality seeds to farmers after testing under the “All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project” (AICCIP) in multi-locations. In 2002-03, when the transgenic Bollgard-I cotton was introduced and followed later by Bollgard-II cotton in 2006-07, Monsanto, the global seed giant and the owner of the gene patent made suitable arrangements with Mahyco-Monsanto Company to make the gene source available to over 25 cooperating seed companies on sub-licensing basis. At this stage, the publicly bred variety and public sector seed distribution became insignificant. The private seed companies devoted attention to more than 95 per cent transgenic hybrid cotton development, predominantly
It was in the last 15-18 years after the post GATT scenario, that the germplasm availability to private seed companies faced constraints, besides non-availability. This came as a promising era to develop their own germplasm by breaking down available hybrids and cross combinations in each Seed Company and reverse pedigree breeding approaches coupled with stringent selection and inter-mating to make new character associations. Many major seed companies thus have made huge germplasm sources maintained as proprietary germplasm. Over 1500 hybrids in transgenic constitution were developed and released by the private seed companies in the last one decade [33, 41].
The character modifications in private seed industry germplasm inter-alia included big (5.5 to 7.2g) and medium boll (4-5g) types, sucking pest resistance, higher boll development with synchrony of reduced plant vegetative duration of 160-170days, long, superior medium and extra-long staple fibre categories, resistance to CLCuV for the northern zone cotton growing areas, moderate drought resistance, high fertilizer efficiency coupled with response for superior management technologies etc., as well as bollworm resistance through BG-I and BG-II Cry gene systems. Even plant type concept has been applied in recent years for higher planting densities and suitability for machine harvesting envisaged for adoption in the next five years or sooner. The Round-up Ready herbicide resistance technology and similar ones are also at its nascent stage in approved seed companies for releasing subject to relaxation of moratoriums by Government and releasing for adoption by farmers.
The private seed companies maintain their own germplasm accessions in cold storage modules and germplasm use as per requirements. Secrecy and privacy is maintained. The seed companies also have their own commercial assessment of germplasm potentials and maintain descriptive records as per business requirements and also as per (Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability) DUS characterization evolved by the PPVFR Authority. It is difficult to acquire information on the wealth of new germplasm developed, utilized and maintained by private seed companies, because of their proprietary nature. However, they are immense in number and variability and serve as the most directly usable material in hybrid development. Competition among private seed companies is acute and hence product development by various seed companies for farmers’ use should not only be attractive, but also shine in contrast and popularity compared to those of competitors with high performance potentials. In recent years, big boll hybrids with 6-7.5gram boll weight have been developed by private seed companies as available in hybrids like MRC 7351, Mallika, Sigma, Jackpot, Indravajram, Ajeet 99, RCH 530, and Vikram 5.
Public sector developed varieties were popular and some of them became parents of H x H hybrids and also in H x B hybrids, when the hybrid cotton era dawned for the first time in the world only in India since 1970s. Private seed industry started developing since then and gradually became the dominant developer of proprietary hybrids and primary distributer of quality seeds. With the advent of the transgenic Bt-hybrid cottons from 2002, the private seed industry became the primary source of superior hybrids and total supplier of quality seeds all over the country. In transgenic group, Bunny, Mallika, RCH2, other RCH, Sigma, Dyna, Brahma, MECH-series, Thulasi 4, JKCH99, Ankur 651 and others became popular. In all, 590-600 private seed companies existed and more than 1500 Bt-cotton hybrids were released, but only some 20-25 commanded more than 85% in seed distribution. Prominent Seed Companies including Mahyco, Rasi, Nuziveedu, Vibha Seeds Group, Ankur Seeds, Thulasi Seeds, Bioseeds and certain others are leading in cotton R&D and extent of seed distribution amounting to 30-35 million seed packets (400g transgenic seeds and 50g refugee seeds per packet) per year is estimated at approximately US$ 525 million . With seed rates increasing in recent years, the requirement would increase to 50 million seed packets per year in the next few years.
8.3. Pre-breeding and development of advanced breeding lines from existing germplasm
The public sector institutions like the CICR and SAUs are involved in such basic breeding activities and development of a large number of advanced lines are reported and the effort is continuing. Work is targeted towards big boll, plant type for mechanical harvesting by accommodating denser plant populations, reduction of crop duration, higher level of resistance to sucking pests and new maladies, besides high photosynthetic efficiency for high yields and even resistance to drought stress and restricted water use under emerging climate adversities . Some of the SAUs and the CICR have previously developed superior varieties / germplasm like LRA5166, Narasimha, Brahma, and MCU5 in
8.4. New techniques and new trends in germplasm assessment
Multi-location evaluation of elite proprietary germplasm is also being adopted by seed companies for precise choice for parents of newer hybrids for different regions. Marker-assisted selection and recurrent selections are adopted by forward looking seed companies for superior parent selection and improvement of fibre quality attributes. Biotechnological tools and scouting for alien gene sources like that of Cry genes for various other envisaged character improvements by the multinational seed companies like Monsanto, Bayer CropScience etc., is also gaining importance in new gene source identification and crop improvement. Traditional applications in germplasm evaluation have undergone significant change and new germplasm developed by private sector and under special programmes in Government R&D centres are targeting the challenging sustainability and competition requirements of the 21st century in the field performance and in industrial applications as issues as discussed in this chapter. In the context of hybrid cottons and in the context of transgenic cotton cultivar
8.5. Gaps in collections (quantitative & qualitative)
There are gaps like (1) augmenting the wild species collections to have as many of the total species as may be available in other country centres, except those, which are not available in live collections elsewhere, (2) augmenting the collections of all important cultivars in all the cultivated species from various cotton growing countries including ELS
Documented standard control varieties are critical for germplasm evaluations. With the current trend in many crops and cotton particularly toward proprietary germplasm, in the future certain "public" germplasm of known pedigree may be primarily important, not for its outstanding agronomic performance, but for its value as a "control". In addition to helping to distinguish environmental from genetic effects on the phenotype, controls may provide a common denominator for standardizing evaluation reports. Instead of presenting raw data, evaluations can be reported as percentages of controls .
Marker-assisted selection (MAS) using molecular markers such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), is widely used in different agricultural research centers to design genotyping arrays with thousands of markers spread over the entire genome of the crops, especially in interspecific crosses of
More effective accessibility and use of plant genetic resources for crop improvement is essential, since conservation at huge cost without use has little merit. Plant genetic resources of crops especially cotton are conserved for use by people as fibre, food, feed, fuel etc. On the contrary, use without conservation amounts to neglecting the genetic base needed by farmers and breeders alike to increase productivity in the future. To be of use, material held in gene banks must be well documented by adopting all modern techniques as well as field evaluation. Only a very small fraction of the genetic diversity residing in
8.6. Registration of newly developed germplasm
NBPGR New Delhi has established norms for new germplasm registration by the breeders and it could also be got protected under (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act (PPVFRA) especially to protect from poaching and breeders may be encouraged to avail of this and increase their efforts, Guidelines for registration of plant germplasm (revised, 2014) NBPGR, New Delhi. The information could be accessed from NBPGR Website <https://www.nbpgr.ernet.in.>. The information will also be published in the Indian Journal of Plant Genetic Resources functioning at its headquarters by the Member Secretary, Plant Germplasm Registration Committee, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resource, Pusa Campus, New Delhi-110 012,
Cotton is a major global agricultural commodity in the World in over 100 countries including India. Cotton is also a widely preferred natural textile fibre for the industry. India is currently the second largest producer, consumer and exporter of cotton with the second largest textile industry after China. Presently, cotton is produced in a little over 11.5million ha in India and all the four cultivated species (
In 2002-2003, the transgenic cotton (genetically modified cotton) was introduced into cultivation in India first with Bollgard-I (Cry1Ac) and subsequently the Bollgard-II (Cry1Ac+Cry2Ab) and the transgenic cottons were all based on proprietary germplasm and hybrids were predominantly of
Since 1960, the Indian collection has grown with the establishment of the Indian Central Cotton Committee, the All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project, and the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR). In 1976, the Central Institute for Cotton Research was established with a mandate to function as National Centre for Cotton Genetic Resources collection, documentation, and utilization. Hence, the Central Institute for Cotton Research functioning under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, an autonomous body under the Government of India is looking after the major responsibility for collection, conservation, evaluation, characterization, documentation and utilization of cotton genetic resources in India with the National Gene Bank at Nagpur. The CICR is collaborating with the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) New Delhi for planning germplasm surveys, exchange, collection and conservation under long term storage facility established for all crops at NBPGR. The entire cotton germplasm collection (total cotton gene pool available in India) is primarily maintained in short and medium storage conditions at the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur and its Regional station at Coimbatore (additional set of
The total collection exceeding 10, 000 accessions including small additions in the last couple of years represent almost entirely cultivated accessions of
Regular collection expeditions were organized by the National Germplasm Centre in collaboration with the NBPGR in various parts of the country. In recent years, plant explorations have covered a large part of India, and several plant exploration trips are planned through in the future. These include exploration of Mizoram, Sundarban (West Bengal), Assam (Kamroop hills and Jayanti hills), Meghalaya (East Garo Hills), and Tripura. The collection has also grown through exchange with the United States of America, France, Uzbekistan, and Czechoslovakia. The FAO-organized germplasm expeditions also provide opportunities to expand the germplasm collection.
Evaluation and characterization of cultivated germplasm accessions are performed based on cotton descriptors and index card developed by the CICR. Evaluation and characterization of cultivated germplasm include morphological, taxonomical, yield, and yield-contributing characters, fiber quality parameters, and reaction to biotic and abiotic stresses. Basic studies are also performed on the structural variation of gossypol and nectar glands, pollen grains, stigma receptivity, cytogenetic studies, and cross-compatibility among various species (wild and cultivated). Accessions of
The authors are grateful to anonymous reviewers of the manuscript and the book editor for critically going through the manuscript and offering valuable suggestions and editorial corrections for improving the quality and content of this chapter.
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