Texas A&M University’s Dr. David Stelly was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Cotton Biotechnology Award at the Plant and Animal Genome Conference recently in San Diego.

Stelly is a professor of cytogenetics, genetics, genomics and plant breeding in the soil and crop sciences department at Texas A&M and has a joint appointment with Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Stelly was one of three nominees this year and was unanimously selected by the committee, said Dr. Don Jones, director of agricultural research with Cotton Incorporated.

Don Jones and David Stelly with award

Dr. David Stelly, left, Texas A&M University professor, receives the 2018 Cotton Biotechnology Award from Dr. Don Jones with Cotton Incorporated. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo)

Describing what a high honor this is, Jones said the Cotton Biotechnology Award was established in 2000 and has been presented on only six previous occasions. It recognizes outstanding biotechnology research in cotton and is administered by the Agricultural and Environmental Research Department at Cotton Incorporated.

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.

Jones said Stelly was selected for his contributions all over the world covering cytogenetics, chromosome substitution lines, and the widely used 63K SNP chip genotyping tool.

Stelly has more than 40 years of breeding experiences with diploid and polyploid crops such as potato, tomato, soybean, maize, conifers, sorghum and cotton. His research also includes germplasm introgression, reproductive biology and cytology, cytogenetics, genetics and genomics.

In accepting the award, Stelly gratefully recognized and thanked “the many contributions of past and current members of his laboratory, as well as large numbers of domestic and international collaborators.”

He joined Texas A&M in 1983, and for the past 35 years, his research program has focused on increasing the ability to use wild genetic resources for the improvement of cotton.

Stelly earned his bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin, his master’s degree in plant breeding and cytogenetics from Iowa State University, and his doctorate in plant breeding and plant genetics at the University of Wisconsin.

A recent Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science awardee, Stelly has been recognized with many honors over the years, including being named the Cotton Researcher of the Year by the International Cotton Advisory Committee in 2017.

He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Conference on Genetics and Cytogenetics at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad in Karnataka, India, and was named a Fellow by the Crop Science Society of America, both in 2016.