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Israel, China to Jointly Develop Hybrid Crops

Professor Yuan Longping, director of the China National Hybrid Rice Research and Development Center (CNHRRDC), said that the joint testing by his center and Israel's FertiSeeds of bio-technology components in selected crops to develop super hybrid rice is a pilot effort. It will take at least five years to market the technology developed in the experiment, he said. Yuan was speaking at a cooperative agreement signing ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday.

Dr. Vered Yesodi, chief executive officer of the private agro-biotechnology company FertiSeeds, expressed his confidence that the new technology will develop high-yield rice hybrids and related technologies for China. He said the cooperation is the first of its kind between the two countries.

The two organizations hope that the hybrid seeds based on FertiSeeds technology will promote the economical production of seeds that will significantly improve yield and quality in such major crops as rice and cotton.

Yuan, 74, who is known as the father of hybrid rice in China, shared the 2004 Israeli Wolf Prize in Agriculture with Professor Steven Tanksley of Cornell University in the US. Israeli President Moshe Katsav awarded the prize in Jerusalem on Sunday night.

Since 1978, five or six such prizes have been granted annually to outstanding scientists and artists worldwide for their achievements. Yuan is the first Chinese scientist to win the prize, which was accompanied by an award of US$100,000.

(China Daily May 11, 2004)

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