Cotton fiber is the most important natural textile resource. The fuzzless mutant DPL972 (Gossypium arboreum) provides a useful germplasm resource to explore the molecular mechanism underlying fiber and fuzz initiation and development. In our previous research, the fuzzless gene in DPL972 was identified as a single dominant gene and named GaFzl. In the present study, we fine mapped this gene using F2 and BC1 populations. By combining traditional map-based cloning and next-generation sequencing, we mapped GaFzl to a 70-kb region containing seven annotated genes. RNA-Sequencing and re-sequencing analysis narrowed these candidates to two differentially expressed genes, Cotton_A_11941 and Cotton_A_11942. Sequence alignment uncovered no variation in coding or promoter regions of Cotton_A_11942 between DPL971 and DPL972, whereas two single-base mutations in the promoter region and a TTG insertion in the coding region were detected in Cotton_A_11941 in DPL972. Cotton_A_11941 encoding a homologous gene of GIR1 (GLABRA2-interacting repressor) in Arabidopsis thaliana is thus the candidate gene most likely responsible for the fuzzless trait in DPL972. Our findings should lead to a better understanding of cotton fuzz formation, thereby accelerating marker-assisted selection during cotton breeding.
Figure 4: Map position of the fuzzless gene GaFzl in Gossypium arboreum DPL972 on chromosome A08. a Primary mapping for the fuzzless trait. Map distances (cM) are on the left. b Linkage map based on SSR and InDel markers. Map distances (cM) are on the left with marker names on the right. c A physical map of the candidate region for the GaFzl gene. Numbers on the right indicate loci of the markers. d ORFs in the candidate region