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GLOBAL: UK, IRRI, BMGF ALLOT $14M FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ON C4 RICE

Date : 7 November 2012

The government of the United Kingdom, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have put $14 million to further support the C4 Rice project in the next three years. The IRRI-led project aims to develop C4 Rice, a rice variety with a built-in fuel injector to better convert sunlight into grain, potentially resulting in up to 50% higher production, while using less water and nutrients. C4 rice, if successfully developed, has the potential to produce 50% more grain with less water and nutrients which would contribute to future food security.

The researchers have already identified crucial genes needed to assemble C4 photosynthesis in rice, defined the basic elements required for functional C4 photosynthesis, and successfully introduced 10 out of the 13 genes needed for C4 rice.  For the second phase of the project, the team aims to produce C4 rice prototypes for testing.