facebook_pixel

Defensive Specialist Helps Blunt Impact of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus

From Cotton Grower Magazine – March 2015

 

An insidious disease known as Cotton Leaf Curl Virus has wreaked havoc in cotton fields through Pakistan, India – and most recently, China – for several years, leaving growers with small curled plants that never make it past the vegetative stage.

The virus been classified as a potential threat to U.S. agriculture by USDA. And although it is currently not found in the Western Hemisphere, the first line of defense for the cotton industry is already in place.

You can thank Dr. Jodi Scheffler for that. Cotton growers in Pakistan and India have already had the chance.

Scheffler is a geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, based at the Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center in Stoneville, MS. And although scientists and breeders are generally not household names, growers will certainly recognize some of the advances to improve the utility and value of cotton fiber and seed that have come out of Scheffler’s greenhouses.

Things like new marker resources for cotton breeding, improved efficiency of nematode resistance breeding projects, enhanced natural host plant resistance to pests, and ways to add economic value to cottonseed as a high quality protein animal feed.

Not bad for an Iowa farm girl who never saw a cotton plant up close until 2000.

“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to do something with breeding and growing plants,” recalled Scheffler. She’s certainly made the most of that goal.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees – plus experience in soybean breeding – from Iowa State University. From there, it was on to the University of Wisconsin for her Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics, with a focus on forage breeding. Then came several years in postdoctoral work as a scientist and technical consultant at research and breeding institutions in Germany and the United Kingdom, where she worked in breeding programs for potatoes, flax and canola.

When it was time to come back to the U.S., Scheffler applied for a soybean job with USDA. Little did she know where fate – and the U.S. government – would take her. “The government, in their infinite wisdom, offered me a cotton genetics job,” she laughed.

So she went to work learning the cotton industry. She visited Cotton Incorporated and campuses in major cotton-producing states, familiarized herself with the research programs, and picked the brains of some of cotton’s living legends who lived in the Leland/Stoneville area.

“George Ray Walker, who at that time had already sold Stoneville Pedigreed Seed Company, was a wealth of information,” she said. “He would come out to the field and tell me things that I should ‘be knowing.’ He gave me a good feel for how the cotton industry developed. Plus, all of the major seed companies were right here and had research stations where they produced seed.

“If I needed to learn a lot of things quickly, this was the place to be.”

The Cotton Leaf Curl Virus work came through a United States Agency for International Development project to help Pakistan improve agricultural stability and food security. The virus was identified as a major problem. Scheffler developed the project protocol and built a research team with the expertise needed to tackle the project.

“Our Pakistani partners screened everything in their germplasm collection and found no resistance to the virus,” said Scheffler. “We sent seed samples from our germplasm collection to Pakistan for screening. So far, we’ve found 12 lines that seem to provide good resistance. We’re also working to develop diagnostic tests to help track the disease in countries where the virus is spreading.”

In 2013, USDA gave the green light to begin proactive breeding against diseases that might have a chance to come to the U.S. Sheffler and her team made crosses between the resistant material and U.S.-adapted varieties for screening in Pakistan. Seed companies have taken notice of her work.

“We now have third generation lines that have the resistance gene,” she explained. “After we get our results back from this year’s testing, we’ll be doing more of the backcross breeding needed to transfer it into those nice high yielding/good fiber backgrounds. We have funding in place for at least another two years for variety development and to get the diagnostic test ready for use in the U.S.”

Her work on the Cotton Leaf Curl Virus project, as well as her broad background in cotton genetics research, earned Sheffler the 2014 Cotton Genetics Research Award, presented annually by U.S. commercial cotton breeders.

For her, it’s just part of a day’s work.

“I was always told that you have to cross everything together, then have the eye to pick the right one,” said Scheffler. “It’s always a humbling experience, and if someone can really use it, that’s even better.”

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

Common Thread Stories
Common Thread

Working to Overcome an Uneasy Alliance

May 11, 2016

As the public becomes more aware of pollinator health, beekeepers and cotton producers come under more scrutiny.

Common Thread

Turning Up the Buzz

July 14, 2015

A White House plan offers more protection for pollinators and monarchs, without major impact for U.S. agriculture.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: Reducing Drought’s Impact

June 5, 2015

Some promising water management studies could help maximize yields and protect cotton acres.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: A Tale of Two States

June 3, 2015

Despite recent rainfall in Texas, drought continues to take its toll on U.S. cotton production.

Common Thread

CCI Continues to Successfully Build Global Demand for U.S. Cotton

May 18, 2015

After nearly 60 years, Cotton Council International keeps on building demand for U.S. cotton around the world.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Silver Linings for U.S. Cotton Acres

April 3, 2015

According to O.A. Cleveland, high yields and demand for quality top the reasons to grow cotton in 2015.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Living Under the “Volcano” of China’s Cotton Policies

April 1, 2015

Joe Nicosia says that China’s plan to reduce massive cotton stocks could challenge the cotton market for years to come.

Around The Gin
Product News

Bayer Looking for FiberMax One Ton Club Growers for 2017

November 16, 2017

Cotton growers who produce an average of 2,000 lb/A on 20 or more acres planted to FiberMax varieties in 2017 are eligible to be part of the 13th annual FiberMax One Ton Club.

Product News

Monsanto Delays NemaStrike for Additional Review

November 2, 2017

After finding cases of skin irritation, Monsanto is pulling its nematode seed treatment NemaStrike for further product review.

Product News

Intrepid Trio: Naturally Balanced Nutrition in Every Granule

November 1, 2017

Intrepid Trio contains three essential nutrients for cotton plants.

Product News

Save Time, Increase Efficiencies with Mixmate

November 1, 2017

Mixmate from Praxidyn is a precision chemical mixing system for small farms to large enterprises.

Product News

Crumpler Ironworks & Fabrication

November 1, 2017

Crumpler Ironworks & Fabrication is committed to providing the highest level of service, honesty and integrity, regardless of project size.

Product News

Delivering Proven Performance Across the Cotton Belt

November 1, 2017

Seed varieties, traits and crop protection products from Bayer deliver proven performance to growers across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Growers Continue to Count on Americot and NexGen

November 1, 2017

Americot is dedicated to working with cotton growers throughout the Cotton Belt to provide elite performing NexGen varieties within the marketplace.

Product News

Deere Adds New Narrow Track Versions to 9RX Tractor Lineup

November 1, 2017

John Deere has added three new 9RX Narrow Track Tractors, expanding its lineup of high-horsepower machines.

Latest News
Common Thread

Working to Overcome an Uneasy Alliance

May 11, 2016

As the public becomes more aware of pollinator health, beekeepers and cotton producers come under more scrutiny.

Common Thread

Examining Cotton’s Points of Interest

April 4, 2016

Experts tackle key issues impacting cotton during Cotton Grower's Common Thread Luncheon.

Common Thread

Look for Savings in the Right Places

March 1, 2016

In a tight market, cotton growers should look for smart savings and efficiencies during the growing season.

Common Thread

Turning Up the Buzz

July 14, 2015

A White House plan offers more protection for pollinators and monarchs, without major impact for U.S. agriculture.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: Reducing Drought’s Impact

June 5, 2015

Some promising water management studies could help maximize yields and protect cotton acres.

Common Thread

Dealing With Drought: A Tale of Two States

June 3, 2015

Despite recent rainfall in Texas, drought continues to take its toll on U.S. cotton production.

Common Thread

CCI Continues to Successfully Build Global Demand for U.S. Cotton

May 18, 2015

After nearly 60 years, Cotton Council International keeps on building demand for U.S. cotton around the world.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Silver Linings for U.S. Cotton Acres

April 3, 2015

According to O.A. Cleveland, high yields and demand for quality top the reasons to grow cotton in 2015.

Common Thread

MAKE OR BREAK: Living Under the “Volcano” of China’s Cotton Policies

April 1, 2015

Joe Nicosia says that China’s plan to reduce massive cotton stocks could challenge the cotton market for years to come.

Common Thread

The Buzz Continues Over Pollinator Health

March 24, 2015

With a federal plan for honey bee protection in the works, the U.S. cotton industry points to successes and braces for more challenges.

Common Thread

Defensive Specialist Helps Blunt Impact of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus

March 9, 2015

Dr. Jodi Scheffler’s work is helping solve problems and improve cotton production around the world.

Common Thread

Changing the WTO Narrative

March 2, 2015

American cotton has been a favorite target of the WTO for long enough.

Common Thread

Unraveling the Common Thread

January 22, 2015

Cotton Grower is launching an initiative to showcase a broader view of the cotton industry.