NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The British National Institute of Agricultural Botany will use a grant of £733,000 ($1,454,000) from the UK government to study gene expression in rice in order to develop new strains that could help solve human hunger problems.
The researchers will seek to identify genes that are naturally tolerant to climate extremes and diseases, and which could be used to develop rice-breeding programs in Africa and in Asia, according to NIAB. Scientists from the institute will work in a collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.
The funding came from the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and from the Department for International Development’s Strategy at Westminster as part of their joint initiative called Sustainable Agriculture Research for International Development.
Rice is a staple for more than two billion people, but disease and water scarcity limit rice cultivation in the developing world, NIAB noted in a statement.
“The opportunity to exploit our cutting edge science for developing world agriculture is very exciting and will help deliver solutions to the major challenges facing society,” said NIAB CEO Wayne Powell.