Mentor:Dr. Brian Ayre and Dr. Roisin McGarry
Research Topic:Bast fiber morphology in an upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) diversity panel
Abstract:Cotton produces long bast fibers in the bank of the stalk, similar to hemp, jute, kenaf, and flax. However, unlike the more familar fiber from cotton bolls, these bast fibers are left in the field after harvest. Our research addresses the diversity, biochemistry, and potential value of these under-appreciated fibers. We are analyzing bast fiber properties across 23 cotton accessions that represent the genetic diversity of this crop. This core set was chosen because it represents 84% of the alleles in a larger panel of 381 lines. We will then move on to analyzing genes responsible for the quality and characteristics of the bast fibers. This research is a series of steps which will contribute to future efforts for a plant with both bast and seed coat fibers suitable for industrial application.