IRRI Gears for Gene Revolution
Byline: DOLLY AGLAY
LOS BAA'OS, Apr. 13 (Reuters) a" From the green revolution of the 1960s, the buzzword these days among rice scientists in Asia has shifted to the gene revolution.
With this in mind, the Philippine-based International Rice Research Institute is building a $1.7-million facility for more research on rice genes and genetically-modified rice and also to train Asian scientists in biosafety measures.
"This will be quite an important initiative to reflect IRRIas vision as we see where this technology and where this transgenic rice technology is going," the IRRIas deputy director general for research, Ren Wang, told Reuters in an interview this week.
"Even now, developing countries continue to show strong interest in developing and utilising transgenic crop technology," said Wang, at the IRRI headquarters in Los BaA[+ or -]os, near Manila.
Several countries in Asia a" including China, India and the Philippines a" have conducted either research or field trials on GMO rice despite concerns from environmentalists such as Greenpeace that genetically modified crops could harm conventional crops.
Iran was the first country to commercialize GMO rice in 2004, but no other country in Asia has followed suit.
The institute, credited for helping the world feed itself by developing new rice varieties during the so-called Green Revolution of the 1960s, is also helping with work on genetically modified Vitamin A enriched rice or "golden rice. …