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China beefs up crop diversity with 140,000 germplasm samples

By Li Lei | | Updated: 2024-01-22 21:33
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In a significant stride towards agricultural innovation, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences has amassed nearly 140,000 germplasm samples since 2015, emphasizing the pivotal role of genetic diversity in crop research.

The academy announced the figure on Monday, highlighting its progress in the third national census of crop germplasm, essential genetic resources for breeding new varieties.

"Since the launch of the census in 2015, we've collected around 139,000 germplasm samples," said CAAS President Wu Kongming at the institute's annual work conference.

Importantly, over 1,000 of these samples boast exceptional traits, such as increased yield potential or enhanced resistance to disease, low temperatures, drought, and even salinized soil.

Wu further emphasized the institute's Hainan division, which established a dedicated germplasm bank for wild rice varieties, currently housing more than 13,000 samples.

This focus on germplasm protection reflects China's strategic transition towards knowledge-driven food security, moving beyond simply expanding farmland or relying heavily on fertilizers.

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