BASIL, Switzerland -- Syngenta today announced that it has agreed an eight-year research collaboration with Anhui Rice Research Institute (ARRI) of Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China.



The collaboration program is centered around conducting laboratory and field tests of novel gene functions and will focus on drought tolerance and nitrogen utilization optimization in key crops such as corn and soybean. ARRI will work closely with Syngenta's new biotech research and technology center in Beijing which was opened in October last year.



"This collaboration will accelerate our research and increase our efficiency and competitiveness," says Xun Wang, Head of Syngenta Biotechnology China. "ARRI has strong expertise and experience in genetics, breeding and field experiments."



The base crop for the program will be rice, which is highly suited for gene research. It is a well characterized crop regarding genetic, molecular and agronomic information and its genome is closely related to those of major crops such as corn. The relatively short growing cycle of rice will also allow more testing to be completed in a shorter time frame.



"We are very excited and honored to be entering into collaboration with Syngenta, a world class agribusiness with global expertise. I strongly believe scientists from both sides will work closely together to develop cutting-edge technologies and provide novel solutions to agriculture," says Jianbo Yang, President of Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences.



The research agreement is part of Syngenta's efforts to work closely with Chinese academics. In 2007, Syngenta entered into a five-year research collaboration with the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) in Beijing on the development of novel agronomic traits for key crops such as corn, soybean, wheat, sugar beet and sugar cane.



Founded in 1987, ARRI is a leading institute in rice research and technology innovation in Anhui Province in China. Since its establishment, ARRI has undertaken many key projects such as with the United Nations Development Programme and the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation.



Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 24,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life.



SOURCE: Syngenta.