WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today presided over a ceremony at which distinguished Syngenta scientist Mary-Dell Chilton, Ph.D., was named a laureate of the prestigious 2013 World Food Prize. The prize is the foremost international award recognizing 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 recognized for "revolutionary biotechnology discoveries that unlocked the key to plant cell transformation." Dr. Chilton's groundbreaking 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 innovative traits. As a direct consequence of this work, in 1996 Ciba-Geigy - now Syngenta - became the first company to commercialize a GM trait in corn. By 2012, transgenic crops were being grown on more than 170 million hectares by more than 17 million farmers.
Mike Mack, Syngenta CEO said, "Mary-Dell Chilton exemplifies Syngenta's corporate purpose - bringing plant potential to life. 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 center at Research Triangle Park in 1984 and is today a Distinguished Science Fellow of Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. She will be formally awarded the World Food Prize at the 27th Annual Laureate Award Ceremony in Des Moines, Iowa on October 17.
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