China: Yunnan seeds travel into space

On May 5, 392.26 grams of Yunnan ornamental horticultural plant seeds, including Orchidaceae, Asteraceae, Rosaceae, and Rhododendron, etc., entered space along with the Long March 5B carrier rocket and began the process of space breeding.

In an article on, it was reported that this space launch is the fifth time that Yunnan province's ornamental horticultural plants have been used. The Flower Research Institute of Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences has carried out space breeding research on Yunnan plateau characteristic ornamental horticulture since 2016. With the strong support of the Yunnan Space Biological Development Promotion Association, through the China Aerospace Manned Office and the China Space Research Institute platform, more than 100 species, 1111.26 grams of ornamental and horticultural species seeds have been used for space breeding.

At present, the team of the Flower Research Institute has conducted cultivation, propagation and seeding experiments on the species that have been sent into space since 2016 and the newly introduced 10 space water lily varieties, and has used the collection and analysis of relevant trait data to screen out 10 superior varieties with better breeding value and promotion value. The selection and breeding of a new red variety "Hang Ziyue", a new variety of water lilies "Kastor" and a new strawberry variety "Yutu" was completed. 10 orchid and Tagetes species with changed leaf color and flower color were obtained.

The team at the Institute of Floral Research also used the space-mutation mutant Dendrobium "TP-MG" as a material to complete studies on the histocytology, photosynthetic physiological characteristics, chlorophyll anabolic metabolism and functional expression of differential genes of plant leaves which have promoted the study on plant mutation mechanism under space mutagenesis. In 2019, the team upgraded and renovated a greenhouse of 5000 m2 in Yanshan International Agricultural Science and Technology Demonstration Park, and will complete the cultivation and demonstration of 300,000 space-Dendrobium seedlings in 2021; "Space Lotus Demonstration Base" was established with Yongsheng Lix Agricultural Development Co., Ltd., introducing 6 varieties of space water lily, among which the seed lotus variety "Space lotus 36" is planted in Sanchuanba, Yongsheng County, about over 600 hectares. The lotus seeds produced there are fresh and sweet, which has produced good economic benefits.

On June 2, 2016, "China Aerospace Breeding Plateau Characteristic Species Center" and "Yunnan Space Flower Innovation Demonstration Base" were formally established and settled in the Flower Institute of the Provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences, becoming the first military-civilian integration agricultural innovation platform authorized by the Chinese Manned Space Office.


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