In 1996, six commercial varieties were treated with 2.45% v/v ethyl methane sulfonate. In 1999, three M3 plants were identified that had partially naked seed coats. From 2001 to 2004, selections from the three M3 naked-tufted seed coat mutants were evaluated in replicated trials at
These mutants appeared to reduce or eliminate the occurrence of fuzz or linters which are short fibers tightly attached to the seed coat in most upland cotton varieties. Our initial hypothesis was that the removal of linters during saw ginning contributed significantly to increased short fiber content in upland cotton. Consequently, genetic elimination of the linters would reduce the short fiber content while simplifying ginning, oil recovery, and delinting of cottonseed.
In the current background the naked tufted trait has up to a 15% reduction in both turn out and final lint yield. However, continued selection within crosses of our mutant lines with germplasm lines with extremely high rates of fiber initiation should allow us to identify lines with sufficient lint yields and enhanced fiber quality to commercialize this unique trait.