Since 2004, BIOTEC has been implementing a project on molecular breeding in rice with an aim to promote the implementation of marker aided selection (MAS) into the current rice breeding program in the Mekong region, particularly Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar through a comprehensive hands-on training program, long-term human resource development and sharing of genomic information and research facilities. The project has made significant impact with the new varieties. In Myanmar, two varieties, Thukha Hmwe (aromatic Manawthukha) and Salto Sin Thwe Latt (salt-tolerant Sin Thwe Latt), were granted registration by the National Seed Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Myanmar in 2013. Salto Sin Thwe Latt performed very well the in the coastal area of lower delta and was expanded to 1,200 acres of Ayeyarwady, Bago, Rakhine, Kayin and Mon states. Thukha Hmwe was distributed to Mandalay, Magwe, Bago, Ayeyarwaddy and Yangon covering the area of 1,138 acres in 2014.
Molecular breeding in rice project was implemented by Rice Gene Discovery Laboratory, a joint lab between BIOTEC and Kasetsart University, in collaboration with Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), National Agricultural and Forestry Institute (NAFRI) from Laos, the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) from Myanmar and the Ubon Ratchathani University from Thailand. The project received initial funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and has obtained generous funds from the Generation Challenge Programme (GCP) since 2007. The current phase of the GCP-funded project involves the distribution and adoption of new varieties to farmers in respective countries.