ISLAMABAD - United States has released $4 million under the KLB Act for a 3-year project worth $9 million that would engage two countries scientists focusing on interactive development of Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV) resistant crop. While briefing media on the project, Dr Brian Scheffler and Rey Santella of US Department of Agriculture said that advance genomics machinery has been purchased specifically for this activity. Initially no equipment is to be brought into Pakistan, Dr Scheffler said in response to a query. Still I dont want to say that this project would not bring in any equipment at all, he rushed to add. To a question whether the water shortage was one of the reasons behind the growth of virus-hit cotton, he said, No. I dont think there is any direct relationship of water availability with the spread of this virus. However, the plants are like us and a healthy one could resist a virus better than a weaker living entity be that due to lack of water or other reasons, he added. Asked about the justification for the US embarking upon a project having no direct experience or exposure to the CLCV, he said, We understand that this virus has the capability of spread in other parts of the world, notwithstanding it current existence in Pakistan, Indian, and China, Dr Scheffler said. To a question, he said three years were not at all sufficient for developing CLCV resistant cotton but he was not in a position to say whether this project would be extended or not. I personally would like this project to be extended beyond three years, he added. He denied the impression that the contaminated cotton has been imported from the US. The project includes two components namely the CLCV monitoring and development of virus resistant crop and second is facilitating seed laws legislation and implementation. Since Santella is based as USDA Agriculture Attache in the American Embassy while Dr Brain Scheffler has been in Pakistan for the past week to meet with the government and cotton sector representatives including that of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Pakistan Central Cotton Committee, National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, Ayub Agriculture Research Institute and others. The US partners in this interactive project include USDA Agriculture Research Service, Mississippi State University, University of Arizona, and Texas A & M University.