Switzerland’s Syngenta has announced that it has completed the Rice Genome Map in collaboration with Myriad Genetics Inc of the US, the first time the genetic profile of a crop has been unveiled.
In addition to finding the DNA sequence of virtually every gene, Syngenta has undertaken an analysis of gene expression and of rice proteins. Because rice is a model for other cereals, the knowledge from this genome map may lead to opportunities for enhanced food crops like wheat, corn and barley.
“We are very proud that our Institute has pioneered this research and that our innovative approach has been successful,” said Dr. Steve Briggs, president of the genomics research centre of Syngenta. “Identifying not only the genes, but their functions and how they work, will provide researchers with crucial new knowledge to improve food crops.”
Syngenta said it would apply the rice genome findings to commercial uses in the agribusiness industry. The company also plans to share the data with the scientific community through collaboration agreements while also offering data and technology from the rice genome project to local farming institutes without requiring royalties or fees.
Drugmakers Novartis and AstraZeneca created Basel, Switzerland-based Syngenta last year by spinning off and combining their agriculture units.