News FocusNewsmaker Interview: M. S. Swaminathan

A Guru of the Green Revolution Reflects on Borlaug's Legacy

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Science  16 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5951, pp. 361
DOI: 10.1126/science.326_361

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Summary

During the Green Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, Norman Borlaug's innovative semidwarf, rust-resistant wheat varieties, honed in Mexico, produced bumper crops—and saved countless lives (see p. 381). Average wheat yields in Punjab, for example, are 4.5 tons per hectare—more than five times higher than in prerevolutionary times. Borlaug's standard-bearer in India was agricultural scientist Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, now a parliamentarian and chair of the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai. Swaminathan, 84, worked with Borlaug for nearly half a century and spoke with Science about the Nobel laureate's contributions to South Asia.