The world's biggest genetic rice database is now available free online, a move scientists hope will contribute to a "green revolution", a leading rice research group said Wednesday.
Information on the genetic sequence of 3,024 rice varieties can now be accessed through the Amazon Web Services system, a cloud computing platform, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said.
The head of IRRI's genetic resources centre, Rory Hamilton, said the database would make it faster and easier to develop new rice varieties in the face of climate change and a growing world population.
These new varieties could be higher-yielding,more nutritious and more resistant to pests, disease, drought or floods.
"What used to be a 20 year task... we can do in two or three years," Hamilton told AFP.
He stressed that with about half the world's population dependent on rice, it was crucial to develop varieties for another "green revolution."
The first "green revolution" -- the development of higher-yielding crop varieties particularly wheat and rice -- took place between the 1960s- 1990s and has been credited with preventing massive food shortages.
The genetic sequencing and initial analysis for the new database was funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.
Hamilton said that this was likely the biggest genetic database of any crop ever placed online.