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2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award Recipients Cotton Incorporated supplements funds for award

January 16th, 2013

Memphis, TN - Five outstanding researchers, Dr. Andrew Paterson, Dr. Jonathan Wendel, Mr. Jeremy Schmutz, Dr. Dan Peterson, and Dr. Dan Rokhsar, were awarded the 2012 Cotton Biotechnology Award. The announcement was made at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference in San Diego. This diverse and talented team led the collaborative community effort to complete the first 'gold standard' Gossypium genome sequence. The gold standard Gossypiumraimondii genome sequence provides the reference blueprint that will revolutionize cotton genetic improvement in the next 5-10 years.

The Cotton Biotechnology Award, endowed by by a gift from Dr. Norma Trolinder in 2000, has been presented to four previous researchers. Since there were five award recipients this year, Cotton Incorporated gifted supplemental funds to ensure each winner received an appropriate award. It is given to a scientist or group of scientists for outstanding biotechnology research in cotton. The Award Committee is comprised of a previous recipient and one representative from each of the following; USDA, private seed company, and university.

Over 10 years ago, the cotton research community began a conversation to determine the appropriate path forward to sequence the genomes of Gossypium. At the time, the community, via the International Cotton Genome Initiative, held open dialogue and ultimately determined a path forward. The consensus decision was to first sequence the diploid progenitor ancestors of Upland cotton. In concert with this community-based recommendation, this group of five from diverse scientific disciplines spearheaded the effort that was published in Nature on December 20, 2012. This landmark paper is the first cotton centric research to be published in this prestigious journal in over 50 years.

Dr. Robert Wright, Professor at Texas Tech University, pointed out the leadership this group exhibited in the effort: "Many individuals contributed to the background knowledge that led to this research, however, these five were the core group that contributed most significantly to the project, the interpretation of data, and writing of the Nature manuscript."Similar accolades came from Dr. Josh Udall, Professor at Brigham Young University. "This gold standard sequence will be a meaningful foundation for all future genetic and biotechnological improvements of cotton and the significance of its publication cannot be overstated. For example, we now have a finite count, position, and genomic context for genes within a cotton plant."

Dr. Paterson is Regents Professor and Director of the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory at the University of Georgia, Dr. Wendel is Distinguished Professor and Department Chair of Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology at Iowa State University, Mr. Schmutz is faculty investigator at HudsonAlpha and the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, Dr. Dan Peterson is Director of Mississippi State's Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology, and Dr. Daniel Rokhsar is Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California - Berkeley.


About the Cotton Board: profit entity to serve as the administrator of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program. Funded by America’s cotton producers and importers through the cotton check-off, the Program’s research and promotion activities are conducted worldwide by Cotton Incorporated, the Cotton Board’s sole-source contracting organization, to increase the demand for and improve the market position of cotton.

 The Cotton Research & Promotion Program continues to work in all areas of cotton’s pipeline – from the field to the consumer – to keep cotton the number one fiber choice in the U.S. For more information about the Cotton Board and the innovative activities stemming from the Program, visit

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