Cotton and Fiber Symposium Set for November

Kelly Marshall

cotton symposium“The fabric of our lives” will be the subject of a symposium scheduled for November.  In the U.S., cotton is a $25 billion dollar industry.

Because of the importance of fiber crops to the United States, there will be an “Exploring Genetic Diversity for Fiber Improvement” symposium at the Synergy in Science ASA, CSSA, SSSA International Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN, on Sunday, November 15, 2015. The meeting is sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America.

“From a genomics perspective, there’s not the diversity in upland cotton as there is in other crops like corn and wheat,” says Wayne Smith, organizer of the symposium and professor at Texas A&M. “Many of the fifty-two species of cotton are not cross compatible, so moving traits from ‘wild’ species into commercial cotton appears more difficult than in some other crops. Even in the species that are compatible and can be cross fertilized, cotton’s genomic structure appears to prevent, or at least inhibit, the genetic movement of desirable traits into the upland genome through conventional breeding methods.”

Eric Hequest, professor at Texas Tech, will discuss making cotton more competitive with synthetic fibers.  “Cotton has lost half its market share to synthetic fiber,” he says. We need to develop “cotton fiber with reduced variability, so it performs more predictably at the mill.”

Phil Bauer, USDA-ARS scientist, Phil Bauer, will address climate change, specifically drought tolerance.  “Improved cultivars for changing climate will include more tolerance to heat and drought. Farmers will also likely be changing their management practices so these cultivars may require traits that optimize production with those practices.”

To attend you must register by November 1, 2015.

Ag Group, Cotton, Events