53. Cotton: Genetic Improvement for Drought Stress Tolerance – Current Status and Research Needs

  1. Dr. Narendra Tuteja2,3,
  2. Dr. Sarvajeet Singh Gill2,4,
  3. Prof. Antonio F. Tiburcio5 and
  4. Dr. Renu Tuteja2
  1. E. Aboukheir,
  2. M. S. Sheshshayee,
  3. T. G. Prasad and
  4. Makarala Udayakumar

Published Online: 30 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9783527632930.ch53

Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2

Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2

How to Cite

Aboukheir, E., Sheshshayee, M. S., Prasad, T. G. and Udayakumar, M. (2012) Cotton: Genetic Improvement for Drought Stress Tolerance – Current Status and Research Needs, in Improving Crop Resistance to Abiotic Stress, Volume 1 & Volume 2 (eds N. Tuteja, S. S. Gill, A. F. Tiburcio and R. Tuteja), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527632930.ch53

Editor Information

  1. 2

    International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Plant Molecular Biology Group, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110 067, India

  2. 3

    MD University, Centre for Biotechnology, Rohtak 124 001, Haryana, India

  3. 4

    Aligarh Muslim University, Department of Botany, Aligarh 202 002, Uttar Pradesh, India

  4. 5

    Universitat de Barcelona, Unitat de Fisiologia Vegetal, Facultat de Farmàcia, Av. Joan XXIII, S/N, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

Author Information

  1. University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Physiology, GKVK Campus, Bengaluru 560 065, India

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 MAR 2012
  2. Published Print: 14 MAR 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527328406

Online ISBN: 9783527632930



  • abiotic stress;
  • association mapping;
  • functional genes;
  • molecular breeding;
  • QTL;
  • transgenics


A significant part of cotton production comes from water-limited rain-fed areas. Being a commercially important crop, improvement of drought tolerance has received increasing attention in crop improvement programs. The marked genetic variability in desirable traits among cotton germplasm has great potential for exploitation through conventional and/or molecular breeding approaches. While most research activities targeted the cotton species Gossypium hirsutum, very limited physiological information is available in other cotton species. At present, the emphasis is to identify and assess variability in specific traits that have relevance in enhancing drought stress tolerance. Ensuing global research has enumerated a few traits such as roots, water use efficiency, and cellular-level tolerance as the most important besides several other physiological traits. Being quantitatively inherited, numerous research attempts have been initiated to identify the relevant QTL and to pyramid them on to superior genetic backgrounds. Likewise, phenomenal progress has also been made in understanding the molecular regulation of drought tolerance, and to identify the functional/regulatory genes for development of drought-tolerant transgenics in various crops. Such approaches are minimal in cotton and it is imperative that such approaches have great promise to develop genotypes with agronomically desirable traits through molecular breeding and/or transgenics to improve cotton yield and fiber quality. Hence, research priority should be laid on utilization of the available genomic resources through effective integration of conventional breeding with molecular breeding tools. Furthermore, cotton species, namely, G. arboreum and G. herbaceum need to be explored to assess the variability in stress-adaptive traits. This chapter examines the cotton drought response and provides an insight into the relevant traits that have a role in enhancing drought tolerance. In addition, the prospects of conventional crop improvement approaches vis-a-vis molecular breeding and transgenic approaches that have relevance to achieving crop drought adaptation without sacrificing the yield and quality. It also provides insight into the research needs on the quantitative and association genetics with an ecophysiological understanding of the cotton genomic resources and to better inform crop improvement program.