Monsanto adds support for 'golden rice'; opens its rice genome sequence data to worldwide research community

ST. LOUIS (August 4, 2000) -- Monsanto announced today at an agricultural biotechnology symposium in Chennai, India, that it will provide royalty-free licenses for all of its technologies that can help further development of "golden rice" and other pro-vitamin A-enhanced rice varieties. Successful development and adoption of enhanced rice could help millions of people suffering from vitamin A deficiencies. The company also announced the recent launch of a new internet web site, http://www.rice-research.org, opening its rice genome sequence database to researchers around the world. These two actions are part of the company's ongoing commitment to global agricultural research and are aimed at facilitating the use of its technologies and data for the common good.

Monsanto's commitment to offer royalty-free licenses for all the company's technology that may be useful in the development of rice varieties with increased levels of pro-vitamin A (or beta carotene) is expected to aid researchers working in this area who wish to make use of existing proprietary technologies. "We want to minimize the time and expenditure that might be associated with obtaining licenses needed to bring golden rice' to farmers and the people in dire need of this vitamin in developing countries," said Hendrik Verfaillie, Chief Executive Officer of Monsanto Company, a subsidiary of Pharmacia Corporation.

The grain known as "golden rice" was developed by Professor Ingo Potrykus, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, and Dr. Peter Beyer, University of Freiburg, Germany, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. In May 2000, the inventors announced a collaboration with Greenovation and Zeneca to enable delivery of this technology free-of-charge for humanitarian purposes. Zeneca pledged to provide regulatory, advisory and research expertise to assist in making "golden rice" available in developing countries

Contact: Gary Barton
Monsanto Company

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