Gates Foundation to fund research into GM cereal crops
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a $10 million grant to a team of British plant scientists to develop genetically modified cereal crops. The research will focus on corn, wheat and rice crops specifically.
The research hopes to develop crops that require little to no fertilizer. Part of the Gates Foundation’s mission has been to help poorer nations with both food and medicine. By helping to create crops that require little fertilizer, the new crops could be useful for areas in Africa where farmers either do not have access to fertilizer or cannot afford it.
The John Innes Centre will conduct the research and aims to engineer crops that could get nitrogen from the air instead of chemical application.
Professor Giles Oldroyd from the John Innes Centre, who is leading the team, said the project was vital for poorer producers and could have a “huge impact” on global agriculture.
“We believe if we can get nitron fixing cereals, we can deliver much higher yields to farmers in Africa and allow them to grow enough food for themselves,” Oldroyd told BBC News.
The results of the research could have wide ranging implications for crops outside of Africa as well since developed and developing countries are relying more upon fertilizers to feed the world’s growing population.