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China's Cotton Genomics Research Gains Leading Position Worldwide

19 September 2012

CHINA - Under the auspices of Cotton Research Institute of CAAS, the draft genome of a diploid cotton Gossypium raimondii was jointly completed by Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) Shenzhen, Peking University and other competent organisations.

The academic journal Nature Genetics published the draft genome on 26 August, marking that China has gained the leading position worldwide in cotton genomics research field.

Vice Minister and CAAS President Li Jiayang sent the congratulatory letter and spoke highly of this achievement for its milestone significance. Li encouraged the researchers to intensify their efforts in cotton genomics research, apply academic outcomes in developing improved cotton varieties, and realize molecular design breeding at genomic level.

Cotton is known as an excellent model system for studying polyploidization, cell elongation and cell wall biosynthesis. In order to explore the important functional genes of cotton and accelerate the process of molecular breeding and whole-genome breeding, Dr Yu Shuxun, Director-General of Cotton Research Institute of CAAS launched and led the Cotton Genome Project (CGP).

By means of whole-genome sequencing, the research team identified 87.7 per cent of the assembled sequences on G. raimondii. They found that the genome contains 40,976 protein-coding genes, with 92.2 per cent of them further confirmed by transcriptome data. The genome annotation results indicated that key genes required for early fiber cell development were also found.

As Dr Yu said, the study suggested that G. raimondii was the outcome of multiple genome duplication of its ancestors. The successful completion of the draft genome will lay a solid foundation for further analyzing the whole-genome sequence of upland cotton. It will play an important role in facilitating researches on cotton quality, productivity, resistance and other agronomic traits, and pushing forward the process of new premium variety development.

TheCropSite News Desk

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