Bioinformatics, a computer-assisted science aiming at managing a huge volume of genomic data, is an emerging discipline that combines the power of computers, mathematical algorithms, and statistical concepts to solve multiple genetic/biological puzzles. This science has progressed parallel to the evolution of genome-sequencing tools, for example, the next-generation sequencing technologies, that resulted in arranging and analyzing the genome-sequencing information of large genomes. Synergism of “plant omics” and bioinformatics set a firm foundation for deducing ancestral karyotype of multiple plant families, predicting genes, etc. Second, the huge genomic data can be assembled to acquire maximum information from a voluminous “omics” data. The science of bioinformatics is handicapped due to lack of appropriate computational procedures in assembling sequencing reads of the homologs occurring in complex genomes like cotton (2n = 4x = 52), wheat (2n = 6x = 42), etc., and shortage of multidisciplinary-oriented trained manpower. In addition, the rapid expansion of sequencing data restricts the potential of acquisitioning, storing, distributing, and analyzing the genomic information. In future, inventions of high-tech computational tools and skills together with improved biological expertise would provide better insight into the genomes, and this information would be helpful in sustaining crop productivities on this planet.
Part of the book: Bioinformatics
The genus Gossypium provides natural fiber for textile industry worldwide. Genetic improvement in cotton for traits of interest is not up to mark due to scarcity of adequate information about fiber production and quality. Use of DNA markers for overcoming the issues of selection associated with complex traits is the ultimate choice which may lead to initiate breeding by design. Numerous marker-trait associations have been identified for economical traits using linkage analysis in cotton. Currently there is need for developing high-density genetic maps using next-generation sequencing approaches together with genome-wide association studies (GWAS). Efforts have been started in this direction and several QTLs including fiber quality, yield traits, plant architecture, stomatal conductance and verticillium wilt resistance were identified. This chapter narrates genetic diversity, QTL mapping, association mapping and QTLs related to fiber quality traits. The incorporation of various genomic approaches and previously described marker strategies will pave the way for increase in fiber production.
Part of the book: Past, Present and Future Trends in Cotton Breeding