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China to Build Gene Bank for Wild Ramee


Researchers at the Institute of Fiber Crops in east China's Jiangxi Province are working to build one of the world's largest gene banks for wild ramee.

Lai Zhanjun, head of the institute, said the project is going well with 1 million yuan aid from the government.

Ramee is a kind of perennial herbal plant, the fiber of which serves as a quality raw material for textile industry.

China now accounts for 90 percent of the world's ramee production, while Jiangxi is a major ramee production base in China.

Early in the 1950s, a team headed by Lai had conducted the world's largest investigation of ramee species in the wildness.

The investigation, which brought them to 14 provinces in five years ending in 1960, led to the discovery of 222 species, 82 of which are unique to China.

According to Lai, the gene bank project will be helpful in preserving those precious species and developing new hybrid species with genetic technologies.

(People's Daily 04/17/2001)

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