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'Transgenic technology supports China's cotton industry'
20
Nov '13
Transgenic technology, which results in innovative high-quality, high-yielding and early maturing cotton, is supporting the stable growth of the Chinese cotton industry, according to an expert.
 
This year, cotton planting area in China fell by 4.4 percent and the country suffered various inclement weather conditions, including low temperature, drought, floods, rain, etc. at different stages of crop growth. 
 
Still, the country’s cotton production is expected to rise marginally compared to last year to about 6.86 million tons, mainly due to the farmers taking advantage of new varieties of transgenic cotton, which have drought and salinity resistant properties, in addition to early maturing and high-yielding characteristics.
 
For long, the Chinese cotton industry was plagued with two ills—pest problems and low fibre quality—according to Zhang Shan, researcher at the Cotton Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
 
Then in the 1990s, Chinese scientists undertook joint research and successfully developed first generation of transgenic cotton, with independent intellectual property rights, which effectively curbed the dangers of bollworm to cotton crop.
 
Subsequently, the domestic market share of transgenic cotton increased from 5 percent to 95 percent. However, the problem of poor fibre quality remained. 
 
Scientists achieved a breakthrough in improving fibre quality and increasing crop yields through the second generation transgenic cotton. Using molecular marker assisted selection and insect-resistant genes, scientists successfully cultivated CCRI 70 with fibre length of 32.5 mm, suitable for high-quality yarn.
 
Thus, with the cultivation of the second generation of transgenic cotton, China’s cotton fibre quality reached international advanced level.
 
According to Zhang Shan, the use of transgenic technology, combined with conventional breeding and molecular marker-assisted breeding and other means, will facilitate the rapid development and production of transgenic cotton, leading to sustainable development of cotton industry in China.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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