Cracking the cotton code
The team has identified several genes in the cotton genome that resist diseases and insect pests, apart from those that relate to fibre quality. The findings allow the researchers to discover how the fibre-producing plant has evolved over a period of several million years from wild form to the currently domesticated species, and offer possibilities of tackling diseases and improving production and quality of the fibre.
The paper was published by an international consortium of 74 scientists from 31 institutions across 11 countries, including the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) in Nagpur. CICR principal scientist Vijay Waghmare was involved in the genome sequencing research along with Paterson as visiting scientist and post-doctoral fellow for two years.
More than 90 per cent of cotton cultivated in India and across the world contains what is called the “AD genome”. A genome belongs to Indian cotton, D genome to American cotton, and the two had cross-bred millions of years ago. The team presented a high-quality draft assembly of the smallest cotton D genome sequence from the wild species Gossypium raimondii, from which all cultivable cotton varieties have evolved.
“The work is a significant advance in cotton research, especially considering the huge size of the cotton
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