The epidermal cells on the surface of the cotton ovules undergo differentiation to produce fibers, which are single-celled hair-like protrusions resembling the plant trichomes. The initiation of these unicellular fibers from the cotton ovule surface is a complex and tightly regulated process. The initiation step is the cell fate-determining stage, which leads to the commitment of cells that eventually developed into fibers, thus becomes the most crucial phase in fiber development. The in-depth knowledge of molecular regulation is a prerequisite to get a clear view of the fiber initiation process's genetic and epigenetic control. The identification and functional validation of cotton fiber initiation-related genes, few fibreless mutants, transcription factors, microRNAs, epigenetic regulators, as well as the elucidation of the role of phytohormones as signaling molecules, has played a significant role in understanding the cotton fiber initiation process at the molecular level. This review focuses on the comprehensive information regarding the genetic and epigenetic regulation of cotton fiber initiation. Thus, the review will provide readers insight into mechanistic details that operate during cotton fiber initiation.
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