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2-Plants: Rhone-Poulenc and IMA go together in rice gene research



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TITLE:  Rhone-Poulenc ties up with Singapore company on rice
        gene research
SOURCE: Japan Chemical Week
DATE:   April 29, 1999

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Rhone-Poulenc ties up with Singapore company on rice gene research

Rhone-Poulenc has recently reached agreement via its agribusiness division, Rhone-Poulenc Agro with the Singapore firm IMA to undertake joint R&D in connection with genetic engineering for disease-resistance in paddy rice and genetic analysis of rice. The objective of the joint research is to discover new genes which will impart resistance to diseases due to fungi and bacteria, the biggest causes of reduced yields of paddy rice. Rhone-Poulenc is urgently pursuing R&D and commercialization in the biotechnology field, where it has been somewhat slow off the mark, and besides having obtained more than 40 biotechnology - related patents, is tackling expansion of its seed and other agricultural businesses utilizing biotechnology. Roughly 90% of the world's production of rice is consumed in Asia. At the same time, the area planted for rice is stable at 150 mn hectares. However, it is estimated that due to population increase etc., rice consumption will increase from the present 550 !
!
mn tons to 700 mn tons in 2010. Therefore, cultivation of new rice varieties which will be conductive to greater harvest volumes is seen as an important step in coping with Asia's swelling rice consumption.



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