Dr. Jane Dever, associate professor-cotton breeder for Texas AgriLife Research in Lubbock, received the 2012 Cotton Genetics Research Award during the 2013 Beltwide Cotton Improvement Conference, which convened as part of the National Cotton Council-coordinated 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in San Antonio. In recognition, she received a plaque and a monetary award.
Dever has been in her present post since 2008 with her research focus including development of new and differentiated germplasm with enabling technology and screening exotic germplasm collections for useful traits to be used in breeding cotton. Breeding targets include improved fiber quality; drought tolerance; nematode tolerance; tolerance to Verticillium dahlia (verticillium wilt), Theilaviopsis basicola, (black root rot) and to Xanthamonas (bacterial blight); and yield component improvement in high fiber quality lines.
One of her award nominators, Dr. Jaroy Moore, Texas AgriLife Research director, said that during Dever's career, she has been involved in releasing 63 germplasm lines and developing more than 30 cotton varieties, conventional and transformed. More than 25 experimental lines were chosen in 2012 to enter yield testing with several from the F(5) generation of salt tolerance and thrips resistance nurseries entering the first year of yield testing in 2013. In addition, a line chosen for Verticillium dahlia resistance was selected for release/registration and the release manuscript accepted for publication while a second line is being considered for release based on yield ability and fiber quality in an environment known to have salinity issues.
Dr. Moore said Dever "brings a diverse and multi-disciplinary approach to cotton breeding. Her knowledge of genetics, cotton production, industry needs and the finished product (textiles) has allowed for the development of a highly relevant and novel breeding program. Her research and breeding efforts have provided and continue to provide knowledge and resources that are an integral part of the advancement of cotton genetics and genetic resource preservation and maintenance."
Another nominator, Dr. Delbert Hess, a retired cotton breeder, said Dever was instrumental in establishing fiber quality as a goal at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. He noted that her public and private contributions "have been significant in improving cotton varieties for the cotton growers throughout the world as well as having been instrumental in improving cotton fiber quality for the clothing industry."
During the 20 years before Dever took her present post at Texas AgriLife, she held key positions at several organizations, including the International Textile Center at Texas Tech University, Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, AgrEvo, Aventis, Biotex and Bayer CropScience. She began her career as a Cotton Improvement Program scientist at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Lubbock after obtaining a B.S. in Textile Technology and Management, a M.S. in Crop Science, and a Ph.D. in Agronomy, all from Texas Tech.
Dever, who was given the 2012 "Golden Hoe Award" by the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative, is the Western and Plains chair of the National Cotton Variety Testing Committee and also serves on the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council and the CottonGEN Database Steering Committee. She currently has 10 refereed publications, one book chapter, 23 technical publications, 43 abstracts and proceedings, 16 invited papers, 16 seminar presentations, two patents on cotton transformations and five patent and germplasm disclosures.
U.S. commercial cotton breeders have presented the Cotton Genetics Research Award for more than 40 years to a scientist for outstanding basic research in cotton genetics. The Joint Cotton Breeding Committee, comprised of representatives from state experiment stations, USDA, private breeders and the National Cotton Council, establishes award criteria.