For over a decade the Regional Breeders Testing Network (RBTN) has served as a multi-environment trial (MET) conducted each year on conventional germplasm lines. Previous to initiation of the RBTN, public breeders lacked a MET due to resource limitations, but now the RBTN serves that role and does so at the nominal cost of conducting a single location trial for each participating scientist. With support from Cotton Incorporated, breeders routinely evaluate conventional germplasm collecting yield and fiber quality data under stresses from nematodes, tarnished plant bug, bacterial blight, fusarium and verticillium wilt, drought, and heat. Starting in 2015, private industry joined the RBTN by signing the Universal Material Transfer Agreement in which all participants agree to specific backcrossing limitations in order to facilitate germplasm exchange.
The RBTN is made possible through Cotton Incorporated’s “Variety Improvement” core funding which is directed by Dr. Don Jones. Dr. Ted Wallace serves as coordinator.