Dr. Andrew Paterson of the University of Georgia has been selected as the first recipient of the Award for Outstanding Scientific Contribution to Cotton Genomics at the International Cotton Genome Initiative Conference held in Australia.

Paterson has led research projects funded by Cotton Incorporated and is currently Distinguished Research Professor and Head of the Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory at the University of Georgia.

He is known as a worldwide leader in cotton genomics and genetics and leads a public initiative that is producing the first reference genome sequence for cotton, laying the ground work for future sequencing efforts and opening the door to new possibilities in cotton improvement.

“Just as the human genome sequence, which was published in the last decade, is aiding our understanding of genetic controls for numerous human ailments like cystic fibrosis and various cancers, so too will the cotton sequence eventually allow us to more precisely optimize genes to improve yield and fiber quality, reduce fertilizer and water use, and tailor defenses to specific insects and pathogens with little to no effect on the overall environment,” said Don Jones, director of agricultural research at Cotton Incorporated.

Paterson’s lab was the first to construct a high density molecular genetic map for cotton which has been improved upon annually, and today, his lab plays a leading role in the effort to generate a reference genome sequence for cotton.

In his investigations, Paterson often takes a comparative and evolutionary approach, thereby revealing both the history of plant genomes and the functional consequences of gene and genome duplication, recombination, gene conversion, and myriad other important genomic phenomena.

He has presented over 170 invited seminars and symposium presentations.