BEIJING, China—The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have agreed to collaborate on scientific research focused on genomics and germplasm enhancement to meet the challenges of global food security. CAAS and IRRI signed the agreement on 16 August in a special event concurrent with the 7th International Crop Science Congress.
The alliance between CAAS and IRRI will advance computational tools and systems critical to the process of developing new rice varieties; expand the Oryza genome sequencing and the search for high-priority traits such as tolerance to droughts or flooding; increase yield by improving the photosynthetic efficiency of the rice plant; and establish a phenomics network in China, as part of the Global Rice Array, to better understand how the genetic makeup of a rice plant determines its performance in farmers’ fields and meets consumer expectations.
CAAS and IRRI have been collaborating since the 1980’s, including the establishment of a joint laboratory to work together on subjects of common interest.
“This agreement allows us to build on our existing relationship and establish a very important collaboration with CAAS,” said Dr. Matthew Morell, IRRI director general. “It is timely to bring together advanced technologies and genetic diversity research to address climate change, and meet future rice demands. IRRI greatly appreciates the leadership demonstrated by CAAS in recognizing the complementary strengths of our organizations.”
The CAAS-IRRI agreement has far-reaching potential since advanced breeding methods, new germplasm and pre-breeding lines, and elite breeding materials studied and developed under this partnership will be shared with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“This alliance places great importance on the scientific ties between China and IRRI,” said Dr. Jiayang Li, vice minister of Agriculture of the People’s Republic of China and president of CAAS. “It creates an environment of technical exchanges and cooperation that will benefit not only our nation and people, but will cast a positive influence on global food security and agricultural development across the rice-growing world.”
Li is also a member of the Board of Trustees of IRRI.