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China Establishes Protection Zone for Wild Rice

China has established a protection zone for wild rice, said to be the largest of its kind in the world, in Yulin in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.


Chen Chengbin, a researcher with the Guangxi Autonomous Regional Academy of Agricultural Science, said the protection zone covers approximately 42 hectares, with 11.09 million samples of wild rice resources.


As the ancestor of modern cultivated rice, wild rice is under key state protection in China. Wild rice provides an important materials basis for the study of biotics and breeding because it contains many fine genes characterized by high yield, high quality, cold-resistant and drought-proof functions and the capability to resist pests and insects.


Wild rice is also of strategic importance in guaranteeing grain safety, said Chen, who is in charge of the protection zone.


Using the genes of wild rice, Yuan Longping, dubbed the "father of hybrid rice," developed the world's first male sterile line of rice in 1970 and completed three male sterile lines of cross-bred rice in 1973.


Due to the popularization of hybrid rice, China's rice output has increased by 20 billion kilograms annually.


(Xinhua News Agency May 30, 2005)






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