Dr. David M. Stelly

Department of Soil & Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University

Dr. David M. Stelly-ICAC Researcher of the Year 2017

Dr. David M. Stelly is a Professor in the Department of Soil & Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research. A world-renowned geneticist and cotton breeder, Dr Stelly started his plant research career in the 1970s, with BS in Genetics at the University of Wisconsin (UW). He completed MS in Plant Breeding and Cytogenetics in 1979 at Iowa State University and PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW in 1983. He joined Texas A&M in 1983.

Dr. Stelly has over 30 years of professional experience and leadership in plant breeding of cotton with expertise on germplasm introgression, reproductive biology and cytology, cytogenetics, genetic and genomics. His scientific endeavors entail a broad spectrum of wild species germplasm, introgression methods, chromosome substitution, ploidy manipulations, conventional cytogenetics and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), genetic analysis, SSR and SNP marker development, genotyping, genome and trait mapping, marker assisted selection, reproductive cytology and genetics, various types of genome mapping (linkage, BAC physical, radiation hybrid), genomics, sequencing and their integration.

Dr. Stelly has revolutionized global cotton research capabilities by enabling global use of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for large-scale and targeted small-scale applications. He spearheaded formation of the International “Cotton SNP Chip Consortium” and development of the “CottonSNP63K Array”, which enables high quality, high-density SNP genotyping of Upland cottons. Dr Stelly created an isogenic Upland cotton platform for cytogenetic stock development and manipulation of Gossypium hirsutum as well as interspecific “Chromosome Substitution”(CS) lines and their derivatives. Dr. Stelly has been involved with the international development of cotton structural genomics from the outset. He was among the key contributors to high-quality assemblies of the D5 genome of Gossypium raimondii, the extant Peruvian wild diploid cotton in 2012, and the (AD)1 genome assembly for Upland cotton reported in 2015. These advances are leading to transformations in multiple scientific and applied disciplines of cotton. He has authored and co-authored over 150 formal publications.

Dr. Stelly is Chair of the International Cotton Genome Initiative, formerly President of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB), external reviewer of the USDA’s Plant Genetic Resources, Genomics and Genetic Improvement program, member of International Organizing Committee for WCRC-6, and the National Academy of Sciences GE Crops Committee. He has twice received the Cotton Genetic Research Award, and recently became a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Univ. Agricultural Sciences Dharwad, India.