The 2012 International Cotton Genome Initiative [ICGI] Research Conference was held October 9-12 in Raleigh. Cotton scientists from 11 countries gathered together to share state-of-the-art scientific discoveries about cotton diversity, genetics, genome sequencing, and gene identification/function. This was the 8th biennial ICGI Research Conference, but the first to be held in the United States, the third largest cotton producing country in the world, behind China and India. To enhance the experience for conference attendees, tours were offered at Bayer CropScience's Innovation Center, Medicago's plant based protein production site, Monsanto's high through-put phenotyping location in Research Triangle Park and Cotton Incorporated's World Headquarters in Cary. Tours concluded at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center with an overview of public and private sector biotechnology activities across the state. This was a watershed meeting for the cotton community in that it coincided with the completion of the first cotton genome sequences. The conference was opened by Dr. Don Jones from Cotton Incorporated, who hosted the meeting, and by the ICGI Chair Dr. Andrew Paterson, who presided over the plenary session and contributed an update on cotton genome sequencing. This was followed by a talk from Dr. Jonathan Wendel, winner of the 2012 ICGI Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cotton Research, who offered an informative tribute to scientists who have contributed to our understanding of the diversity of the cotton genus and origin of the crop plant, including its taxonomic and genomic history. Many of the talks appeared "futuristic", reflecting numerous and rapid advances in many enabling genomic technologies that have become available in recent years.
RESEARCH CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS - DOWNLOADS