Uzbekistan - US Partnership publishes findings on improved cotton fiber in the Nature Communications Journal, January 2014
A USDA ARS Office of International Research Programs (OIRP) project funded via an agreement with the Department of State, published findings in the most recent Nature Communications Journal. Their research is a collaborative effort with the ARS, Uzbekistan, and Texas A&M University. The team showed the role of phytochromes in upland cotton fiber quality, using transgenic phytochrome-specific RNA interference (RNAi) construct plants in comparison to controls. The RNAi is a natural factor in the plant that suppresses, or ‘turns off’ genes, in this case those that limit fiber length. The RNAi test plants showed improved fiber length among other enhanced fiber quality traits, and also that these traits are heritable. Upland cotton is the major cotton variety grown in the US, and increased fiber length will enable the cotton to remain competitive with synthetic fibers in the marketplace. Patent applications for the work are submitted in Uzbekistan (IAP20120069), the US (USPTO: 13/445696), and internationally (PCT/US13/27801). A Texas A&M press release is available for additional information.