Gurdev Khush

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Gurdev Khush
Born22 August 1935
EducationB.Sc., Punjab Agricultural University (1955) Ph.D., University of California, Davis (1960)
Occupation(s)Agronomist and geneticist

Gurdev Singh Khush (born August 22, 1935) is an Agronomist and Geneticist who, along with mentor Henry Beachell, received the 1996 World Food Prize for his achievements in enlarging and improving the global supply of rice during a time of exponential population growth.[1]


He graduated with a B.Sc. from Punjab Agricultural University in 1955 and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) in 1960.


After serving as a faculty member of the University of California (UC) for seven years studying the tomato genome, he joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines as Plant Breeder. He was appointed a Head of the Plant Breeding Department in 1972 where, in pursuit of ever-improved rice varieties to nourish the growing developing world and support its agricultural economies, he spent over twenty years directing and participating in genetic research and breeding.[2] During that time he played a key role in the development of more than 300 innovative rice strains such as Semi-dwarf IR36.[3] World rice production increased from 257 million tons in 1966 to 626 million tons in 2006.[2]

He retired from IRRI in February 2002 as Principal Plant Breeder and Head of Division of Plant Breeding Genetics and Biochemistry[2] and returned to UC Davis as adjunct professor.[4] He also served on the Life Sciences jury for the Infosys Prize in 2010.

Honours and awards[edit]

Khush has earned many awards, including the Borlaug Award (1977), the Japan Prize (1987), the World Food Prize (1996), Padma Shri (2000)[5] and the Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2000).[6] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1995[7] and by the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences as their foreign fellow in 1991.[8]

Notable publications[edit]

  • Peng, Shaobing; Khush, Gurdev S.; Virk, Parminder; Tang, Qiyuan; Zou, Yingbin (2008). "Progress in ideotype breeding to increase rice yield potential". Field Crops Research. Elsevier. 108 (1): 32–38. doi:10.1016/j.fcr.2008.04.001. ISSN 0378-4290. S2CID 44234573.


  1. ^ "Food for thought conference. Opening Keynote: Dr. Gurdev Khush". Stanford University. 11 April 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush". Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  3. ^ The World Food Prize: 2006 Laureates Archived 2009-07-29 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "UC Davis – Khush Foundation". Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  5. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  6. ^ "2009 Award of Distinction Recipients". UCDavis. Archived from the original on 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  7. ^ "Fellows". Royal Society. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  8. ^ "Foreign Fellow". National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016.