A significant accomplishment has been made in the sequencing of the cotton genome by a Texas Tech research team in collaboration with Bayer CropScience and the National Center for Genome Resources (NGCR), which will fuel multi-disciplinary basic and applied research to help increase cotton productivity.
"This information will significantly advance cotton research worldwide," said Dr. Mike Galyean, Dean of Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "The genome sequence will eventually lead to improved cotton varieties containing environmentally friendly traits, which are preferred by producers, processors, manufacturers, and consumers."
The annotated draft genome assembly being released is from Gossypium arboreum. This species is an extant representative of the cotton A-genome lineage, which is paired with the D-genome lineage making up present day cultivated cottons. The A-genome species gave rise to spinnable fiber eventually leading to what is today the modern-day textile industry.
This approach to unravel the genetic mystery of this African/Asian cotton species was led by Dr. Thea Wilkins, former Professor of Cotton Genomics in Texas Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences in close collaboration with scientists at Bayer CropScience and next-generation genomic sequencing technology and biocomputing providers, KeyGene and NCGR. This team's delivery of this annotated draft genome sequence adds to other recent efforts to present an unprecedented view into the structure of the A-genome, which will accelerate research efforts for improving cultivated cotton.
Cotton production contributes substantially to economies around the globe. Collaborative research projects such as this will help to increase that contribution. Dr. Don Jones, Director of Agricultural Research at Cotton Incorporated, said this sequence knowledge is another tool for improving commercial cotton. "This accomplishment is another cornerstone in understanding the biology that leads to higher yield, improved fiber quality, and better stress tolerance while reducing inputs used in producing the crop."
This research was completed under a public-private partnership between the State of Texas, Texas Tech University, and Bayer CropScience. Dr. Mike Gilbert, Vice President of Global Breeding and Trait Development at Bayer CropScience, stated that this accomplishment is another great example of the synergy that can be created to deliver innovation in cotton that will improve the sustainability and economic value from the farm to the consumer: "Through our collaborative cotton research program, Bayer CropScience and Texas Tech University under the umbrella of the Texas Research Incentive Program have partnered to create cutting-edge programs in fiber science and genomics to advance cotton knowledge and products. Together we are committed to providing long-lasting solutions for growers and the global cotton community."
The draft sequence of G. arboreum is currently deposited in Genbank and is scheduled to be released to the public on December 2, 2014.