About the Authors

Mary A. Egbuta

Roles Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing

Affiliation Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia

Shane McIntosh

Roles Funding acquisition, Supervision, Writing – review & editing

Affiliations Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Wollongbar, New South Wales, Australia

Daniel L. E. Waters

Roles Supervision, Writing – review & editing

Affiliations Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, ARC ITTC for Functional Grains, Charles Sturt University, Wagga, Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Tony Vancov

Roles Funding acquisition, Supervision, Writing – review & editing

Affiliations Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Wollongbar, New South Wales, Australia

Lei Liu

Roles Funding acquisition, Project administration, Supervision, Writing – review & editing

ben.liu@scu.edu.au

Affiliation Southern Cross Plant Science, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia

Competing Interests

The funder of this project is Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC), Australia. CRDC website is https://www.crdc.com.au/. L.L., S.M. and T.V. received the research grant from CRDC (Agreement Number DAN1504). M.E. PhD scholarship was paid as part of this award. This does not alter our adherence to PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials. CRDC has given their approval to us to publish the full results of this project.