Key message: Evidence that supports a relation between AOX expression and improvement in plant height, internode length, and total leaf area under cool temperature is shown. Cell expansion and elongation appear to be enhanced when AOX expression was increased. Abstract: Cotton growth is sensitive to cool temperature during germination and early seedling development. Delayed emergence, seedling damage, and increased risk to disease are common. Late seasonal cool weather is a major factor limiting the consistent production of high-quality cotton lint in West Texas. Alternative oxidase functions in the inner membrane of the mitochondria via an alternative respiration pathway and serves as a multifunctional system for amelioration of abiotic and biotic stresses. Cotton seedling emergence and growth exposed to cool temperatures was examined in plants with enhanced AOX expression. Thirteen T1 seed lines showed 3 to 1 segregation for the T-DNA containing the tobacco AOX1 gene. Two over-expressing, single-copy, homozygous AOX lines (94-20T and 66-6T) and Null line (94-3N) were selected for examination. The transcript levels were ≈ 2 to 6 fold higher in the AOX lines compared to those of the Null line and wild-type in stem, leaf, root and boll tissues. The research examined the hypothesis that transgenic cotton with enhanced AOX expression will have enhanced growth traits under suboptimal cool temperatures. Improved plant height, internode length, plant height and internode length from second node, and total leaf area under cool temperatures were observed in AOX over-expression lines. This may be attributed to improved cell expansion and elongation characteristics in the AOX line.