Bayer CropScience opens rice research laboratory in Singapore

Bayer CropScience has opened a rice research laboratory in Singapore to support the development of new high-yielding hybrid rice varieties. Representing an investment of about EUR 5 millions, the research unit will work with cutting edge technologies like DNA marker analysis to support molecular assisted breeding. The scientists at the new facility will work to integrate innovative agronomic traits into hybrid rice, like disease or pest resistance. At a later stage, the laboratory will also work on rice phytopathology and rice grain quality.

Touring the new Bayer CropScience rice breeding support lab are Dr. Joachim Schneider, Head of BioScience (extreme left), Mr. Julian Ho of the Singapore Economic Development Board (second from right), and Mr. Marcus Yim of Bayer South East Asia (extreme right).

''With this investment, Bayer CropScience aims at developing new solutions to help increase rice yields and productivity at a time when rice consumption outweighs annual production'', said Dr Joachim Schneider, head of the BioScience Business Unit at Bayer CropScience during the inauguration. This state-of-the-art facility is ideally located in Asia were 90 percent of global rice production takes place. The company expects the new facility to significantly increase the breeding capacity of Bayer CropScience in hybrid rice.

Bayer CropScience is one of the world´s leading developers of hybrid rice and has built a strong expertise in hybrid rice breeding and production. Its conventional hybrid rice seed varieties have been commercialized under the global umbrella brand ArizeŽ in seven countries in 2007 (India, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Brazil).

Arize high quality seeds have excellent genetic purity and germination rates combined with a higher yield potential up to 35 percent more than conventional rice varieties. Hybrid rice can therefore play a major role in enhancing the productivity of this important crop and therefore in contributing to sustainable food security. ''Our new laboratory will enable us to develop more rapidly new and more efficient rice hybrids for the benefits of rice farmers all over Asia'', Dr. Schneider commented.

Bayer is a global research-based and growth-oriented enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience AG, a subsidiary of Bayer AG with annual sales of about EUR 5.8 billion (2007), is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology.