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New Crops Varieties to Be Developed in Space
China is expecting to develop more new crop varieties with the technology of space breeding, an official from the Space Breeding Research Center (SBRC) of Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science said Tuesday.

Liu Luxiang, director of SBRC, said many new germ plasms -- the parts of the cell containing hereditary material -- and new strains of rice and wheat were obtained, and ground simulations of space environmental factors established a new way to induce mutations for genetic improvement.

All the research contributed to the exploration of the mechanism of space-induced mutation breeding and establishing the new technical system of space breeding, Liu said.

He said Chinese scientists were studying the specialties of the mutations induced by different environmental factors during the space flight from the different angles of particle biology, physical field biology and gravity biology.

The utilization of the space resources would be tapped and a theoretical system of space breeding would also be established, Liu added.

As one of the three countries in the world that had mastered the technology of satellite recovery -- the others being the United States and Russia -- China had made a series of achievements in space breeding, Liu said, noting the new germ plasms and strains created by combining space technology and modern breeding technologies were exceptionally good quality.

Liu believed that with the formal launching and implementation of the state's Space Breeding Project, more new crop varieties with breakthrough characteristics would be obtained and the technology of space breeding would be developed.

(Xinhua News Agency May 21, 2003)

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