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Texas Tech’s Sequencing of Cotton A-Genome Could Revolutionize Industry


The accomplishment through collaboration with Bayer CropScience could translate into better commercial varieties for growers.

A team of researchers at Texas Tech University, in collaboration with Bayer CropScience and the National Center for Genome Resources (NGCR) have developed a view into the structure of the cotton A-genome.

This is a significant accomplishment in the sequencing of the cotton genome, which will fuel multi-disciplinary basic and applied research to help increase cotton productivity.

“This information will significantly advance cotton research worldwide,” said Michael Galyean, dean of the 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 the African/Asian species Gossypium arboreum, an extant representative of the cotton A-genome lineage paired with the D-genome lineage making up present day cultivated cottons. The A-genome species gave rise to spinnable fiber, eventually leading to the modern-day textile industry.

The draft sequence of G. arboreum is deposited in Genbank and is scheduled to be released to the public today.

Thea Wilkins, former professor of cotton genomics in Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, led the approach to unravel the genetic mystery of this species. She collaborated with scientists at Bayer CropScience and next-generation genomic sequencing technology and biocomputing providers KeyGene and NCGR.

This team’s delivery of this high-quality genome sequence presents 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 throughout the globe. Collaborative research projects such as this will help to increase that contribution. 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,” Jones said.

This research was completed under a public-private partnership between the State of Texas, Texas Tech and Bayer CropScience. Mike Gilbert, vice president of global breeding and trait development at Bayer CropScience, said this accomplishment is another great example of the synergy that can be created to deliver innovation in cotton and 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,” Gilbert said. “Together we are committed to providing long-lasting solutions for growers and the global cotton community.”

Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at Texas Tech Today Media Resources or follow us on Twitter.

CONTACT: David Weindorf, associated dean for research, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Texas Tech University, (806) 834-5287 or

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