World Food Prize for work on GM corn

Thursday, 20 June, 2013

Syngenta scientist Dr Mary-Dell Chilton has been named a laureate of the 2013 World Food Prize, which recognises individuals who have enhanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

Dr Chilton and two other laureates were recognised for “revolutionary biotechnology discoveries that unlocked the key to plant cell transformation”. Dr Chilton’s ground-breaking molecular research showed how a plant bacterium could be adapted as a tool to insert genes from another organism into plant cells, which could produce crop varieties with new traits. As a direct consequence of this work, in 1996 Ciba-Geigy (now Syngenta) became the first company to commercialise a GM trait in corn.

“Mary-Dell Chilton exemplifies Syngenta’s corporate purpose - bringing plant potential to life,” said Mick Mack, Syngenta CEO. “She is a pioneer of modern biotechnology, which is a key component of the integrated solutions that will help farmers meet the rising food, feed and fuel demands of a fast-growing global population.”

Dr Chilton founded Syngenta’s biotech research centre at Research Triangle Park in 1984 and is today a Distinguished Science Fellow of Syngenta Biotechnology. Dr Chilton will be formally awarded the World Food Prize at the 27th Annual Laureate Award Ceremony in Iowa on 17 October 2013.

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