Mission-linked research encompassing basic and applied research to promote the advantages of cotton and bring new opportunities for cotton beyond the fibre-to-fashion supply will be next phase for research in the cotton sector. This effort was visible recently at a reception hosted for Professor Luis Rafael Herrera-Estrella, a foreign member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS), who is joining Texas Tech University (TTU) as a distinguished professor.
Dr. Herrera-Estrella will focus on genomics and other advanced scientific techniques to improve cotton, such as stress tolerance against environmental factors, at the new Center for Functional Genomics of Abiotic Stress at TTU. This initiative has been made possible thanks to a US$ 5 million grant from the Governor's University Research Initiative in Texas. TTU provided matching funds, with the support of industry, to establish this centre in Lubbock.
"Cotton producers rely heavily on the research activities conducted by universities," says Shawn Wade, Director of Policy Analysis and Research at Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. "Cotton producers face a tremendous number of challenges, all of which ultimately impact yield and quality of the cotton they produce. Research that can focus on specific issues that can range from managing or adapting to increased environmental stresses to developing new markets for low micronaire cotton are key to their continued success."