NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The German life sciences company 5 Prime has donated $500,000 worth of molecular biology technologies and reagents to the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, the company said Wednesday.
The IRRI plans to use the donation, which includes technologies and reagents for DNA isolation, amplification, and molecular analysis, to develop rice strains that are cheaper and easier to cultivate than current strains. The institute is focused chiefly on developing drought-resistant strains for cultivation in rain-fed lowlands that are vulnerable to drought.
“In 2008, rice prices have risen dramatically, hurting poor consumers who are dependent on affordable rice for their food security,” IRRI Deputy Director of General Research Achim Dobermann said in a statement.
This is in contrast to the 170 percent increase in rice production that started in the beginning of the so-called Green Revolution in the 1960s and lasted until the year 2000, and which held rice prices down.
“Molecular biology is one of the keys to generating more scientific advances that may not only reduce hunger in developing countries but also spark their subsequent economic growth and ultimately lift more people out of poverty,” 5 Prime CEO Bernd Haase said in the release.
IRRI, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations along with the Philippine government, is next to the University of the Philippines.
5 Prime offers products for use in research including nucleic acid purification, genomic DNA, RNA, PCR, real-time PCR and RT-PCR, and molecular biology reagents.