Project Summaries

04-011IH  Project Manager: D. C. Jones


Don C. Jones, Cotton Incorporated

The 2012 International Cotton Genome Initiative [ICGI] Research Conference was held October 9-12 in Raleigh, North Carolina. 132 cotton genomic and genetic experts 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 of Bayer CropScience's Innovation Center, Medicago's plant- based protein production site, Monsanto's Plant Sciences Research Facility 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.

The conference was opened and attendees greeted by North Carolina cotton producer/ginner Taylor Slade, Dr. Don Jones and by the ICGI Chair Dr. Andrew Paterson, who also presided over the plenary session and contributed an update on cotton genome sequencing.

A presentation was given by 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 conference's talks appeared "futuristic", reflecting numerous and rapid advances in many enabling genomic technologies that have become available in recent years. This futuristic tone is readily identified from the titles of the presentations, which included: "DNA Sequencing of Many Gossypium Species"; "The Dynamics of Virus-Induced Gene Silencing in Cotton Fiber"; "Phytochrome RNA Interference Enhances Major Fiber Quality and Agronomic Traits of Cotton";   "Exploring the Genetics of Adaptive Traits in Cotton with a Next-Generation Platform"; and "Transcriptomic Approaches for the Identification of Drought-Responsive Genes in Cotton".

Although these titles and many others may sound like Greek to most of the public, speakers emphasized the importance of communicating scientific progress to those outside of science. The keynote lecture, delivered by author Ms. Susan Dworkin, was entitled "Talking to the City: Breaking the Information Barrier for Agriculture". Concluding remarks by Mr. Gwyn Riddick from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center touched on the dual need for cutting edge science coupled with effectively communicating these advances to those outside of the scientific community.


Project Year: 2012

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