Evaluation of a Heterogeneous Population of Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) Developed with Recurrent Mass Selection in an Ultradense Population
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The pedigreed system is commonly used to develop improved genotypes of upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.); however, this system can be resource intensive compared to mass selection methods. A project was initiated in 1995 to develop improved germplasm using recurrent mass selection in an ultradense plant population configuration. A composite population (CP) resulting from six cycles of selection was compared to two high-performing cultivars at three plant population densities (203,858 plants ha-1, 101,929 plants ha-1, and 33, 975 plants ha-1). Traits of interest included lint yield, plant morphology, and fiber quality. Genotype had a significant effect on lint yield and fiber qualities. Population densities affected plant morphology. Lint yield potential of the CP was not competitive against cultivars at any of the three population densities. Fiber traits generally were unaffected by plant density. The CP was earlier maturing and plant height remained more constant across population densities in comparison to the two check cultivars. This type of recurrent mass selection system may be more effective if initial breeding lines with a high percentage of fixed alleles make up the initial population. The existing CP population may still have value as a source of individual plants with enhanced stress tolerance. Crop Science Society of America.