According to the University of California, Davis, the simplest cotton genome, Gossypium raimondii, has been sequenced through the collaborative effort of 31 institutions from around the world. The discovery, announced on Dec. 21 in the journal Nature, is said to give cotton industry professionals the promise of improvements on the fiber.
ICAC’s 2012 researcher of the year, Andrew Paterson of the University of Georgia, led the project which spanned more than two decades.
Don Jones, director of agricultural research at Cotton Incorporated, says “Cotton Incorporated was involved as a financial supporter of several co-authors and as a facilitator between cotton researchers and the cotton community,” Jones explains. Another major contributor was the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, which invested several million dollars into the project, giving the research the boost it needed make a high-quality draft of the fiber.
“This research is the foundation of a roadmap for locating precisely where agronomically important genes of interest reside in the cotton genome,” Jones explains.
Researchers at North Carolina University, another contributor to the project, stated that the sequence – dubbed the, “gold-standard”- was chosen by the worldwide cotton community to be the first of 50 cotton species to be sequenced because it would serve as the best model for the New World progenitor of commercially important upland and pima cottons.
Jones says that it is the hope of all parties involved that the industry benefit from the identification of genes that will enhance yield, improve quality, and increase water efficiency.