In California, Ceres announced that the U.S. Agency for International Development has expanded its grant to the company to develop traits in rice for Asia. Based on Ceres’ success to date, USAID will provide an additional $3.5 million to Ceres over the next four years to extend field trialing and development of the company’s biotech traits and trait stacks in rice. The company will also help foster the development of local expertise in biotech traits in rice within India.
The new USAID funding will extend Ceres’ trait work in rice for four more years. Ceres researchers will focus specifically on combining its best high-yield and stress-tolerance genes into stacks, which can amplify the benefits of individual traits. Subject to regulatory approval, field evaluations of the first commercial hybrids with the Ceres traits could begin as early as mid-2013.