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Crop Biotech Update

IRRI and Crop Trust Agreement Saves World's Largest Rice Collection

October 17, 2018

An agreement between the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Crop Trust ensures the conservation and sharing of 136,000 rice varieties from all over the world. The world's largest rice collection will receive permanent funding worth US$1.4 million a year, in perpetuity, and signed on World Food Day, October 16, 2018, during the 5th International Rice Congress in Singapore.

Scientists worldwide use rice seeds stored at IRRI's genebank in Los BaƱos, Philippines. IRRI scientists have used rice samples from the bank to develop breakthroughs tailored to environmental challenges such as drought and flooding, which are already threatening production in key rice-producing regions, including India, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Ruaraidh Sackville-Hamilton, an evolutionary biologist who manages the IRRI genebank said, "Our work to conserve rice has a proven track record in bringing benefits to the world. With this collection safely conserved, we can continue to use it to develop improved rice varieties that farmers can use to respond to the challenges in rice production and to adapt to the changing tastes and preferences of consumers everywhere."

The IRRI genebank contains the ancestors and descendants of IR8, the "miracle rice" that brought Asia back from the brink of famine during the Green Revolution in the 1960s and 70s. The collection also includes wild rice species, which have been used to develop heat and drought tolerant rice varieties.

For more details, read the news releases from IRRI and Crop Trust.