Cotton is one of the most important cash crops in the world and the main raw material of the textile industry. To enhance international cooperation, the Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO), the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) co-organized “2022 ANSO International Workshop on Cotton Research and Industry” on 19-20 August. The workshop discussed a range of topics, including but not limited to cutting-edge advances, common challenges and opportunities in the cotton field. More than 20 top-level scientists and experts from China, Uzbekistan, Brazil, and Türkiye presented their scientific accomplishments. This event was also live-streamed online and attracted over 300 audiences across the world.
In the opening remark session, Dr. Shukhrat E. Shermatov of the Center of Genomics and Bioinformatics, Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan, introduced the achievements made in Uzbekistan in cotton genomics. Prof. BAI Chunli, President of ANSO, stressed the significant need in relying on science and innovation and international cooperation in addressing various challenges for the development of cotton industry and called on more international cooperation among the top cotton-producing countries. Prof. QIAN Wei, Director General of IMCAS, overviewed the institute's efforts in the study of genomics and particularly mentioned a few progress on cotton-related research. All extended warm welcome and gratitude to all participants.
The keynote presentations covered the most recent advances in cotton research, the challenges and opportunities of the cotton industry in different countries. Prof. Ibrokhim Y. Abdurakhmonov, Minister of the Ministry of Innovative Development, Uzbekistan could not come to give his presentation due to his busy schedule and asked Dr. Shermatov to do so on his behalf. Dr. Shermatov shared the long-term experience in cotton genomics research as well as related technologies and policies in Uzbekistan. Prof. LI Fuguang, Director of the Institute of Cotton Research (ICR), the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), gave a brief history of cotton research and development in China, particularly the significant contributions that ICR, CAAS has made in using modern technologies in the introduction of new cotton varieties in China. Prof. CHEN Xiaoya from the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology of CAS put emphasis on the recent progress in engineering cotton defense against insects. Prof. GUO Huishan from IMCAS focused on disease-resistance breeding and the development of RNAi-mediated specific pest control. Prof. Nelson Dias Suassuna from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation briefed on the challenges and possible solutions of cotton breeding in Brazil. He introduced the Cotton Breeding Program carried out by Brazilian scientists which had been improving fiber quality, disease resistance, biotech traits, nematode resistance, and yield stability. Prof. Mehmet Karaca of Akdeniz University reviewed the scientific research on cotton in Türkiye in the past 50 years and future directions. According to his speech, Türkiye adopted Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) Free policy in cotton research but DNA-free genome editing techniques were allowed and explored.
A number of advanced technologies have been applied to improve cotton production. Dr. Abdusalom K. Makamov from the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan delivered his presentation on the application of Marker Assisted Selection (MAS) for upland cotton improvement. Prof. ZHU Yuxian from the Institute for Advanced Studies, Wuhan University shared his research on how to use polymers to improve cotton fiber quality. Prof. CHEN Xuegeng from Shihezi University presented the development and prospects of the whole-process mechanization of cotton planting in Xinjiang.
On the second day of the workshop, seven experts from research institutions and universities in China were invited to deliver speeches on “Gene Editing and Application in Cotton”, “Genomic Basis of Genetic Improvement of Cotton”, “Occurrence and Control of Cotton Diseases and Insect Pests”, “Quantitative Detection and Biological Control of Main Cotton Pathogens”, etc.
Both domestic and international experts called for more cooperation to promote the development of the cotton industry. In response, ANSO, as an international organization, affirmed its willingness to provide a sustainable international platform to promote cooperation among all countries.
Prof. CAO Jinghua, Executive Director of the ANSO Secretariat, Prof. XIANG Hua, Deputy Director-General of IMCAS, and Prof. GUO Huishan from IMCAS co-chaired the workshop.