STAFF REPORT ISB: Two top scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have recently visited Islamabad to lead the annual review of the Pak-US cotton productivity enhancement programme.

This dynamic programme is an international collaboration with a consortium of the Pakistani government and university research facilities, USDA, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dryland Areas (ICARDA).

The primary goal of the programme is to study the Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV) and promote best management practices of the virus, as well as identify new sources of resistance.

The study of CLCuV is crucial in Pakistan, since it has caused major losses to the countrys cotton industry, both threatening its economic stability and food security.

Dr. Brian Scheffler, USDAs Lead Scientist for the programme, has described some of the groundbreaking research that has been done under the programme.

He said, “This partnership has identified new sources of resistance in cultivated cotton, which will be critical to maintaining long-term virus resistance while ensuring high levels of production.”

He also said that under this programme, the scientific team has also developed the first laboratory diagnostic test that confirms the presence of CLCuV and distinguishes it from other viruses with similar symptoms.

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