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CIMMYT scientist Ravi Singh in Washington, D.C. to receive AAAS honor

January 20, 2016
CIMMYT Distinguished Scientist Ravi Singh. CIMMYT/Alfonso Cortes

CIMMYT Distinguished Scientist Ravi Singh. CIMMYT/Alfonso Cortes


WHAT: Distinguished Scientist and Head of Bread Wheat Improvement at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Ravi Singh, will be recognized as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science(AAAS) for his contributions to the field of agricultural research and development, particularly in wheat genetics, pathology and breeding.

WHEN: Saturday, February 13, 2016: 8:00 a.m. -10:00 a.m.

WHERE: Regency Ballroom, Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St N.W., Washington, DC, 20008

ABOUT AAAS: The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists and advancing science for the benefit of all people. The AAAS Council elected 347 Fellows for 2015, in recognition of their contributions to innovation, education, and scientific leadership. The tradition of electing AAAS Fellows began in 1874 to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

OTHER DETAILS: Singh will be in Washington at the AAAS award ceremony and will be available for media interviews.

Singh began his professional career in 1983 as a post-doctoral fellow at CIMMYT where he became a Distinguished Scientist in 2005. Currently, he is head of bread wheat improvement in the Global Wheat Program.

Singh has made significant contributions to enhancing food security throughout the developing world through his work at CIMMYT and the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative. His research in controlling wheat rust diseases through the use of durable genetic resistance has gained recognition worldwide. He has contributed significantly to enhancing the knowledge of diversity in wheat rusts and the evolution/selection of new races significant to wheat production in developing countries. Singh has contributed to the development of over 400 rust-resistant high-yielding wheat varieties released in various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, several of which are currently grown on an estimated area of 25 million ha. As a result of this work, many farmers do not need to protect their crops with costly fungicides, boosting incomes and environmental sustainability. These varieties also have great potential for organic farming.

Singh’s research has highlighted that globally effective durable resistance to leaf (brown) and yellow (stripe) rusts in wheat involves interactions of slow rusting genes that have small to intermediate but additive effects and the accumulation of slow rusting genes results in a level of resistance comparable to immunity. Together with co-workers, his research has led to the identification and designation of 25 genes in wheat for yellow rust resistance; for barley yellow dwarf virus tolerance; for suppression of leaf rust resistance; and for leaf tip necrosis. He was a co-investigator for research that led to the cloning of pleiotropic multiple disease resistance genes Lr34 and Lr67, landmarks in understanding the genetic mechanisms for partial but durable resistance that is conferred by unique ABC transporter and hexose transporter genes, respectively.

Singh has penned 209 peer reviewed journal articles, 26 book chapters/extension publications, 80 published symposia, and 212 symposia abstracts that he has authored and co-authored. Potential interview topics include:

· How rust monitoring has expanded and how new molecular tools are in place to identify Ug99 rapidly via an international collaborative network

· Identification and use of diverse sources of resistance, including the release of various resistant-moderately resistant varieties in Africa and Asia. Seed multiplication and dissemination in several countries require further resources

· Progress in breeding new high-yielding wheats, especially with complex adult plant resistance with the potential to stabilize the situation in East Africa, the role Kenya (Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization) and Ethiopia (Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research) are playing to support the global wheat community to facilitate field screening of about 50,000 wheat lines each year

· Potential for using such new molecular breeding strategies asgenomic selection to accelerate genetic gains; cloning of rust resistance genes present in wheat to have cis-genic options to utilize gene combinations as cassettes


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MORE INFORMATION: Contact — Julie Mollins, CIMMYT communications, by email at j.mollins@cgiar.org or by mobile at +52 1 595 106 9307 or by Twitter @jmollins or by Skype at juliemollins; Genevieve Renard, head of CIMMYT communications, atg.renard@cgiar.org or  +52 1 595 114 9880 or @genevrenard


CIMMYT, headquartered in El Batan, Mexico, is the global leader in research for development in wheat and maize and wheat- and maize-based farming systems. CIMMYT works throughout the developing world with hundreds of partners to sustainably increase the productivity of maize and wheat systems to improve food security and livelihoods. CIMMYT is a member of the 15-member CGIAR Consortium and leads the Consortium Research Programs on Wheat and Maize. CIMMYT receives support from national governments, foundations, development banks and other public and private agencies.

CIMMYT website: http://www.cimmyt.org