Temasek Rice Story

With a mission of harnessing science and technology to improve lives, scientists at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) conduct research on a wide range of model organisms and plants, including economically important crops such as rice. In the area of agricultural sciences, TLL has developed platform technologies to improve productivity and enhance the quality of rice grain through the reduced use of natural resources.

Leading the research and development of new rice varieties is TLL senior principal investigator Dr Yin Zhongchao, who has more than 20 years of experience. He led a multi-national team of scientists to find out how plants are able to deal with environmental and biological stresses on the molecular level and uses it to build up its own natural defence mechanisms. His research has led to breakthroughs that were eventually published in high-impact, peer-reviewed scientific journals like nature, with patents filed in many countries.

In an effort to translate his research applications to positively impact communities, Dr Yin’s team also embarked on a backbreaking and dedicated task to utilize genomic and marker-assisted breeding to rapidly generate a library of new and improved rice varieties with specific desirable traits.

This led to the eventual creation of the Temasek Rice – an elite, high-yielding aromatic rice variety that is high in dietary fibre, and has an increased resistance to bacterial and fungal diseases, as well as greater tolerance to environmental stresses such as flood and drought. These traits can combat threats brought about by factors such as climate change and helps contribute to longer term food security for the region.

The technology behind the Temasek Rice has also allowed his team to work closely with farmers in Asia to develop sustainable farming practices so as to improve productivity and livelihoods.

The Temasek Rice is a significant milestone in our pursuit of research excellence. At TLL, the core of our research focuses on sustainability as well as the well-being of our future, and we strive towards the application of our research innovations for a greater cause to benefit the society.