UC Davis helps unravel the mystery of the cotton genome
December 23, 2012
• Contributes to sequencing of the genes
• “Has yielded a wealth of information”
The simplest cotton genome, “Gossypium raimondii,” has been sequenced through the efforts of a consortium of 31 institutions, including the University of California, Davis.
The discovery is expected to pave the way for making improvements in the fiber crop, which, with its oil and meal byproducts, contributes approximately $120 billion to the annual U.S. gross domestic product.
The sequencing effort, led by Andrew Paterson of the University of Georgia, was initiated in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute Sequencing Program.
"This collaborative effort has yielded a wealth of information that will help scientists better understand the basic biology of cotton and enhance the sustainable production of this globally important crop," says plant scientist Allen Van Deynze, who led UC Davis' participation in the sequencing project.
The cotton varieties grown commonly in the United State are hybrids of two different types of cotton and thus carry multiple copies of chromosomes. G. raimondii has a smaller, less repetitive genome compared to other cotton species.
In assembling the genome of G. raimondii, which is native to the Americas, the researchers also compared that genomic information with several other sets of cotton genome data, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
This comparison revealed information about how cotton has evolved over millions of years from wild varieties to domesticated varieties that are now valued for textile production, UC Davis says.