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Biotechnology and Life Sciences in Baden-Württemberg

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Peter Beyer and Ingo Potrykus awarded by the journal "Nature Biotechnology"

The two inventors of Golden Rice were honoured as two of the "most notable and influential people in agricultural, environmental or industrial biotech research of the last ten years".

The two inventors of Golden Rice, Professor Dr. Peter Beyer, Institute for Cell Biology at the University of Freiburg and Professor Emeritus Dr. Ingo Potrykus at the ETH Zurich, were honoured by the renowned journal “Nature Biotechnology” with the “Nature Biotech Award”, distinguishing the inventors as two of the “most notable and influential people in agricultural, environmental or industrial biotech research of the last ten years”. As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of “Nature Biotechnology”, the journal asked its readers to nominate biotechnologists for this award. In total, 300 people were nominated. Peter Beyer and Ingo Potrykus used genetic engineering methods to modify the rice genome so that it contained two additional genes that would lead to the accumulation of provitamin A (beta carotene) in rice. This genetically modified rice has a characteristic deep yellow colour and was therefore named “Golden Rice”. The first prototype was developed in 1999. This prototype still contained relatively low provitamin A concentrations. New rice strains have since been developed with higher vitamin A concentrations needed to tackle malnutrition in developing countries.

The continued development of Golden Rice is coordinated in Freiburg. The next rice generation will also contain iron, zinc, vitamin E and essential amino acids. The project is funded by the “Grand Challenges in Global Health” initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and has received more than eleven million US$. The initiative aims to improve human health in the world’s poorest countries and particularly targets malnutrition, which is the major cause of disease and high mortality rates, especially among children.

Contact:
Jorge E Mayer, PhD, MIP (Law)
Golden Rice Project Manager
Campus Technologies Freiburg
Stefan Meier Str 8
D-79104 Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761 203 4986
Fax: +49 (0)761 203 4985
E- mail: jorge.mayer@goldenrice.org
Logo BioRegion Freiburg
13.03.2006

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