Georgia researcher wins 2007 Cotton Genetics Research Award

The award winner was announced during the 2008 Beltwide Cotton Conferences held last week in Nashville, Tenn.

Published on: Jan 15, 2008

Andrew H. Paterson, a distinguished research professor in the University of Georgia’s Crop and Soil Sciences and its Genetics departments was named the winner of the 2007 Cotton Genetics Research Award during the Cotton Improvement Conference of the National Cotton Council-coordinated 2008 Beltwide Cotton Conferences.

According to an NCC news release, Paterson is an internationally recognized authority in plant genomics, and his contributions to cotton genetics, genomics, cytogenetics and breeding have been significant. He currently serves as director of the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, director of the National Science Foundation Comparative Grass Genomics Center, director of the USDA-IFAFS Center on Reducing the Genetic Vulnerability of Cotton, and as the co-director of the Genes for Georgia Initiative.
Paterson’s Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory (www.plantgenome.uga.edu), which is comprised of some 30 University of Georgia research scientists, is widely recognized in the application of modern technologies to genome mapping and QTL localization. His research group addresses the fundamental questions on the structure and organization of crop genomes with cotton as a center stage, and was the first to report the most detailed molecular map of the cotton genome, the synteny/colinearity of the ancestral cotton genome to the Arabidopsis genome, and was the first to develop a comprehensive QTL landscape of the cotton genome including traits such as fiber quality, productivity and disease resistance as well as a host of genetic mutants.

Paterson also has advised or co-advised 43 master’s and Ph.D. students and mentored 44 postdoctoral associates.

One of his nominators, Texas Tech University;s Robert Wright says: “Dr. Paterson personifies all the qualities represented by this award. His broad talents and tireless work ethic are widely recognized and appreciated by his fellow colleagues, collaborators and students. His unique and original research has provided a foundation to modern cotton molecular and evolutionary genetics.”

Wright says Paterson has led the way in cotton genome mapping, as evidenced by his large body of research. Paterson’s laboratory, Wright notes, has developed many genetic tools and information that are being widely utilized by scientists worldwide.

Paterson earned his B.S. summa cum laude from the University of Delaware and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University in plant breeding and genetics.

The recipient of the 2003 Cotton Biotech Award also has authored or co-authored more than 190 publications (60 in cotton), many of which appeared in some of the world’s leading science journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Genetics and the Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences. He also has authored two books, 37 book chapters, five popular press articles, six patent applications and 143 invited presentations.

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. The winner also receives a $1,000 cash award.