Asia/South Asia
4 months ago

China employs sci-tech to improve biological breeding, seed varieties

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China has boosted its biological breeding industry through scientific and technological methods, contributing greatly to the country's steady supply of grain and other major agricultural products.

In recent years, China has solidly pushed forward its seed industry revitalization and has achieved a number of breakthroughs.

China has independently bred three new white-feather broiler chicken varieties, thereby ending its previous complete dependence on imports, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. The market share of these new varieties reached 25.1 per cent in 2023 and they were exported abroad for the first time last year.

China last year also successfully cultivated a new oilseed rape variety with a growth period of only about 169 days. This short growth cycle enables farmers to fully utilise the winter fallow fields in southern China by planting oilseed rape without delaying the planting of early-season rice the following year.

In addition, China has managed to establish an independent and complete bio-breeding research and development system, and has secured independent intellectual property rights and core technologies concerning important genes and genetic features, such as insect resistance, herbicide tolerance, drought resistance, salt tolerance, and improved nutritional quality.

Recently, the country's 37 genetically modified corn varieties and 14 genetically modified soybean varieties passed preliminary examinations, according to the ministry. This marked a pioneering step for the industrialization of bio-breeding.

These genetically modified crops showed both outstanding herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant traits. They could also see a 10 per cent rise in yields, demonstrating great development potential.

As the "chips" of agriculture, seeds are crucial to the development of the industry. Accelerating the promotion and application of transgenic technology is an inevitable choice for increasing future international competitiveness and optimising industrial division, and is also a key way to ensure the country's food security and boost the sustainable development of agricultural science and technology.

The contribution rate of improved varieties to the increase in grain yield currently exceeds 45 per cent, according to official statistics. As a core focus area for the development of the seed industry, sci-tech innovation will help improve China's agricultural sci-tech level and narrow the production capacity gap between China and some leading foreign countries.

"The core goals in the future are to increase production and improve the quality of seeds, reduce the use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and decrease losses caused by natural disasters," said Li Jiayang, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 


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