Full name:


Gurdev Singh Khush
Date of Birth:


August 22,1935
Affiliations (at the time of the award):


Adjunct Professor, University of California, Davis CA 95616-7008, USA


Genetics and Plant Breeding
Summary of body of work recognised by MSA:


 Dr. G.S. Khush is world’s premier rice breeder. He led the rice breeding program of  International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for 35 years (1967-2002).  More than 300 breeding lines of rice developed under his leadership have been released as varieties by the national rice improvement programs.  IRRI developed breeding lines and their progenies are now planted to more than 60% of world’s rice land.  One of the IRRI varieties, IR36, was planted to 11 million hectares of rice land during 1980s.  No other variety of rice or any other food crop has been planted that widely. IR 64 became the most widely planted variety during 1990s.  Farmers harvest 5-7 tons of rice from modern rice varieties, compared to 1-3 tons with old varieties. Since 1966, when the first high yielding rice variety was released, rice harvested area increased only marginally from 126 to 150 million hectares (17%), the average yield increased from 2.0 to 4.5 tons per hectare (250%).   World rice production increased from 257 million tons in 1966 to 600 million tons in 2000.  The increased production feeds one billion additional rice consumers.  Price of rice adjusted for inflation was 40% lower in 2000 compared to that in 1960s. 
Latest Biography/Profile of Organisation: Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush was born in Rurkee, Punjab, India on August 22, 1935 and was educated at the Punjab Agricultural University (B. Sc. 1955), and at the University of California, Davis (Ph.D. 1960)

After serving as an Assistant Geneticist the University of California (1960-1967), he joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines in 1967 as a Plant Breeder.  He was promoted as Head Varietal Improvement Department in 1972.  In 1986, he was appointed as the Head, Division of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biochemistry.  He retired from IRRI in 2002 and joined the University of California, Davis as an Adjunct Professor Dr. Khush has served as a consultant to rice improvement programs of several Asian countries.

Dr. Khush also served as a member of:

Scientific Advisory Committee to the Rockefeller Foundation’s Program on Rice Biotechnology (1987-2000).

Technical Advisory Group, Agricultural Biotechnology for Sustainable Productivity Project, Michigan State University (1990-2000).

 Advisor to the Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy (1991-2000).   Advisor to the International Science Foundation of Sweden (1991-2000). 
Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee (Overseas) of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India (1995-2005).

Dr. Khush is a Winner of:

·         Japan Prize, Science and Technology Foundation of Japan

·         International Agronomy Award, American Society of Agronomy

·         Emil M. Mrak International Award, University of California, Davis

·         World Food Prize, World Food Prize Foundation

·         Rank Prize for Nutrition, Rank Prize Funds

·         Wolf Prize in Agriculture, Wolf Prize Foundation

·         International Scientific and Technology Cooperation Award, Government of China

·         Golden Sickle Award from Thailand

·         Mahathir Science Award – Academy of Sciences Malaysia

Dr. Khush is an Elected Member of the following Academic Academies

·         Indian National Science Academy

·         Foreign Associate, US National Academy of Sciences

·         World Academy of Sciences

·         Royal Society (London)

·         Russian Academy of Sciences

·         Chinese Academy of Sciences