Although he was brought up on a wheat farm in the Punjab--India's bread basket--Gurdev S. Khush, 62, has made his life's work developing better strains of rice. As head of the Plant Breeding, Genetics & Biochemistry Div. at the International Rice Research Institute, Khush has developed several of the most widely grown strains in the world--a distinction for which he won the prestigious World Food Prize in 1996. Now, he is giving birth to a new strain of "super rice"--a variety with a 25%-higher yield and resistant to insects, bacteria, and fungi--expected to be ready by 2002. His goal: to feed all of Asia's poor so they have a chance to look beyond their rice bowls.

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