Crop Biotech Update

DevGen and IRRI Form Partnership on Rice Research

April 8, 2010

Devgen in Brussels and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are collaborating to develop hybrid rice varieties that withstand drought. "Lower yields mean farmers have less rice to feed their families and sell to their communities. Subsequently, rice prices may increase, causing devastating consequences for more than 60% of the world's poorest who live in Asia and rely on rice as their staple food," said Dr. Arvind Kumar, IRRI's lead project scientist.

According to press releases from Devgen and IRRI, scientists will apply Devgen's innovative hybrid rice technology to breed some of the drought tolerant traits identified by IRRI into breeding lines through marker-assisted breeding. The end-goal will be drought-resistant rice hybrids that will be marketed through Devgen's distribution channels.

"Under climate change, droughts are predicted to become more frequent in these rain fed areas that are home to 45% of all rice production," he added. "If countries like India can protect rice production through drought-hardy crops, we will have come a long way in providing food security to the most vulnerable people in Asia."

View both press releases at and