Dr Gurdev Khush FRS
Gurdev Khush applies genetics and cytogenetics to the increased production of irrigated rice in East and Southeast Asia. Through his breeding programmes, he developed the variety IR 36, which has occupied millions of hectares of land. Gurdev’s work has been a major contributor to the increases in rice production per caput in Asia. Following investigations of relevant ‘genotype x genotype’ interactions, he incorporated from other parents resistances to virus, bacterial and fungal diseases and to several insect pests. Some resistances were transferred to cultivated rice from related wild or weedy species. In breeding research, Gurdev isolated the 12 trisomic lines of rice that enabled RFLP mapping to be assigned to chromosomes. He has used the comparative RFLP maps of rice and of related species to determine the genomic changes associated with the introgression of resistance. Gurdev is breeding new plant types to increase yield potential according to models that define the required morphological and physiological characteristics. Such increase is necessary if the human food requirements of Asia are to be met in the 21st century.