Arcadia Bioscience and BGI create non-GMO rice resource

Arcadia Biosciences and BGI announced Tuesday they have agreed to collaborate to develop a rice resource library for food crop research and development.

Together, they will create, sequence and characterize gene alleles for global rice breeding. Arcadia already has experience with non-genetically modified genetic diversity libraries with soybeans, two different types of wheat, canola, and vegetable crops. BGI’s world-class genome sequencing capabilities will help the make the data available for free online and store seed and distribute rice lines via The China National Gene Bank.

“These shared results have the potential to accelerate rice variety development and eventually extend to other key food crops,” Arcadia President and CEO Eric Rey said. “We are cost-effectively connecting a major global genetics research base with the breeders who can apply that knowledge practically to support global food security in the face of growing populations, limited land resources and the negative effect of climate change on crop yields.”

Rice is grown on more than 395 million acres around the world, totaling $429.3 billion in 2013.

“As the staple food for China, as well as for nearly half of the world’s population, rice is one of BGI’s most important research priorities,” Xin Liu, vice director of BGI-Research, said. “Large-scale discovery of novel alleles for desirable rice phenotypes is critical to understanding genomic diversity and elucidating gene function for development of elite varieties. We also encourage greater efforts to establish a global, public rice genomic database and advance rice improvement. In the future, we hope to dedicate such efforts to other important crops, like millet, soybean, maize and wheat.”

Rice is especially important in China, but Arcadia has partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development in other countries such as Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Uganda.

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