Retired since April 1999 - was full Professor of Plant Sciences, specifically of Biotechnology of Plants, at the Institute of Plant Sciences of the ETH Zurich since June 1, 1987. His research group applied gene-technology to contribute to food security in developing countries. He retired April 1, 1999. Prof. Potrykus was born on December 5, 1933 in Hirschberg/Schlesien, Germany. He studied biology at the University of Cologne and earned his doctorate with a thesis at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research. After several years at the Institute of Plant Physiology, University of Hohenheim, he became research group leader at the Max-Planck Institute for Plant Genetics. 1976 he transferred to Basel to establish the area of plant genetic engineering at the Friedrich Miescher Institute.
Motivated by the upcoming food crisis problem of malnutrition in developing countries and the potential of gene technology to contribute to food security, the research group is dedicated to genetic engineering projects aimed at improving yield stability and food quality of rice, wheat, millets and manioc crops. Research focuses on problems which cannot be solved by traditional methods. Results and technology are transferred to developing countries via international research centres, free of costs and restrictions on property rights. The best known result is golden rice, a new rice variety providing provitamin A, which is widely seen as the model example how to sustainably reduce malnutrition in developing countries. Since his retirement Ingo Potrykus - as president of the international Humanitarian Golden Rice Board - is devoting his energy to guiding Golden Rice towards subsistence farmers across the many hurdles of a GMO-crop. To this end collaboration he has been established with 14 rice institutions in India, China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Philippines.