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$25K grant continues cotton nematode work
MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Mississippi State University researcher landed another grant to continue work begun in 2007 to support the state’s cotton industry.
Ted Wallace, a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, received a $25,000 grant for 2012 from Cotton Inc. to continue his work developing nematode-resistant cotton cultivars.
To date, he has selected breeding lines that show resistance to two of the most important nematode pests in cotton. Losses to nematodes -- a microscopic, worm-like pest that feeds on the roots of plants -- exceeded half a million bales of cotton in 2005.
“One of the primary challenges in this effort is to eliminate undesirable traits genetically linked to resistance and combine resistance with desirable traits, such as high yield and good fiber quality,” Wallace said.
He has completed three growing seasons using marker-assisted selection, and the grant will allow him to continue this effort.
“In each year of breeding, genetic markers are used to assist in the identification of resistance plants, thereby reducing the need to grow plants in nematode-infested soils to determine whether or not they are resistant,” Wallace said. “To date, more than 10,000 plants have been evaluated with markers in search of a desirable combination of resistance, yield and fiber quality.”
The search continues, and plants already identified will be evaluated in formal testing this year.
Wallace is working on this project at MSU’s Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville with MAFES researchers Peggy Thaxton and Bobby Golden and U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service scientists Brian Scheffler and Jodi Scheffler.