The Group of Cotton Genetic Improvement (GCGI) is an active research group in Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU). Under the leadership of Professor Xianlong Zhang, the group consists of 6 professors, 4 associate professors and 1 lecturer, supplemented by two research assistants, two postdoctoral fellow, 25 doctoral candidates and more than 40 master graduate students. The GCGI is one of the four major research groups (including Rice group, Rapeseed group, Cotton group and Maize group) in the National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement and National Center of Plant Gene Research (Wuhan), which is one of the top research centers in life science in China and focused on basic research, applied basic research and applied research in rice, rapeseed, cotton and maize on genetics, genomics, and metabolomics. The research of GCGI covers the diversity of cotton research field including function genomics in somatic embryogenesis, fiber development, anther development, biotic and abiotic stresses, genetics in cotton yield, molecular marker development, genetic engineering and cotton breeding.
Since 2005, we have released five varieties authorized by the government, such as “Hua Zamian 1”, “Hua Zamian 2”, “Hua Hui 103”, “Hua Zamian 4” and “Hua Zamian H318”. Especially, the hybrid variety “Hua Zamian H318” has been widely applied in Yangtze River region and produced remarkable economic and social benefits. The GCGI has obtained significant financial support from the China government such as NSFC, “863 project”, and “973 project”, etc. Due to the research achievements, we have won the second class National Award of Scientific and Technological Progress in 2013, the first class Provincial Award of Scientific and Technological Progress in Hubei province in 2012, the second class Provincial Award of Technological Innovation in Hubei province in 2008, and the second class Ministerial Award of Natural Science in the Ministry of Education in 2012. The doctoral dissertations guided by professor Xianlong Zhang have won one National Excellent PhD Dissertations (2008), two nominations of National Excellent PhD Dissertations and four doctoral dissertations have been elected as outstanding doctoral dissertation in Hubei province. In the past five years, more than 80 peer-reviewed papers were published in the international academic journals, such as Plant Physiology, Plant Journal, Molecular Cellular Protomics, Journal of Experimental Botany, Plant Biotechnology Journal.
The GCGI are well-equipped with about 1500 m2 laboratory space, 1000 m2 greenhouse and 26000 m2 experimental field on campus of HZAU. In addition, there are more than 60000 m2 field in Ezhou and Jianli of Hubei province for cotton breeding.