BEIJING — China will strengthen basic agricultural research in the seed industry to ensure food security and the supply of agricultural products, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) said.

A series of significant achievements have been made during the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) in genome analysis, the cloning of new genes and key breeding technologies for crops.

Researchers have explored the field of genome-wide selection and genetic improvement and identified a number of genes that regulate the tolerance of increased planting density, defense responses and nutrient absorption and utilization in rice.

Dozens of key genes related to tiller number, stature and root meristem activity in rice have been cloned.

Researchers studied the fixation of heterozygosity and haploid induction through the simultaneous editing of related genes in hybrid rice and obtained plants that could propagate clonally through seeds. Application of this method may enable self-propagation of a broad range of elite hybrid crops.

The CAAS said it has also unveiled a series of programs to boost the development of the seed industry in the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025).

It will focus on basic research in the new system of plant-microbe interactions featuring highly efficient nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis and nitrogen use and epigenetic regulation in response to the environment, aiming to increase grain yield and reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

The integration of systems biology, big data, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence will innovate precise gene-editing tools and technologies.

It will also design new gene and protein components and construct an efficient system of cell factories and synthetic organisms.


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