A new variety of corn developed by a researcher of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, with a shorter breeding circle and higher yield is ready to be released on the domestic market this year.
The yield of the corn variety, Zhongdan 859, after 10 years of research, was expected to increase 7.5 percent, said Huang Changling, director of Center for Crop Genetics and Breeding of the Institute of Crop Sciences of CAAS, also the leader of the research team.
The corn variety would be extended in northeastern areas of China due to its early mature characteristics, he added.
"The breeding of a new variety of corn needs at least 10 years. Many people devoted their whole life in it," said Huang.
After graduating from China Agricultural University with a master's degree in 1988, Huang joined CAAS and mainly focused on corn genetic breeding.
Huang, at his 50s, already won fame for two of his major corn varieties, Zhongdan 808, whose breeding took 10 years, and Zhongdan 909, 17 years.
"The experimental field was located near the east gate of CAAS in the past. we used to sow and pollinate there," he said. "Years ago, we worked in a very shabby environment due to a lack of funds. I see things are better off these days."
"There was difficult time when everyone went back to home Chinese Lunar New Year, while we had to stay watching over the crops", he said.
"I always remembered Li Jingxiong, an academician and scientist who influenced me most, went to the corn field in July at his 80s."
Zhongdan 808 corn, widely used in southwestern China for about 10 years, helped increase the production by 19.7 percent to about 6,000 kilograms per year, compared with that in 2009 because of its big and full heads and disease-resistance traits, according to Huang.
"The research of corn, one of the major crops in China, fell behind many developed countries in the level of mechanization. Also, most of the varieties came from small groups of researchers, while there were big companies working on it in foreign countries."
Huang said the common way to transform scientific achievements into real products in the market was to cooperate with companies.
"To plant corns in a field with an area of 6.7 million square kilometers, we need 4,000 to 5,000 seeds," he said. "It's something laboratories cannot do."
Zhongdan 909 corn variety, also developed by Huang and his research team, first entered the market in 2011.
The cultivating area expanded rapidly to more than 2 million hectares in total in northwestern and northeastern China by the end of 2016. Its density-resistance and slanting-resistance characteristics helped to increase the production, he said.
Huang Changling is just a typical example of many breeding scientists in CAAS.
Chen Hualan, a researcher from Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of CAAS, developed and released the avian influenza vaccine in Chinese market back to 2004.
She said the vaccine was used to prevent H5 virus infection for livestock in China, and African and Asian countries including Vietnam and Egypt.
Chen started working in CAAS after getting the PhD degree in 1997.
"I see the academy improved a lot in terms of human resources and equipment," she said. Chen, as one of the pioneers of influenza vaccine research back to 1994, led her lab to become the only research center qualified to diversify influenza viruses in China. The lab established a database of more than 400 viruses and promoted its vaccine in the whole country.
More than 70 billion dose of vaccines have been used in the world.
Chen and her team found the H7N9 virus which infected Chinese people were similar to that of livestocks in April 2013.
A month later, they found H5N1 virus could possibly be transmitted through the air.
And in July, they found H7N9 didn't make livestocks ill but had severe influence and capability of transmission to humans, thus revealing the threat of the virus among the public.
In 2015, she was selected as one of the five world's prominent female scientists by the UNESCO among more than 2,600 candidates.
In the last 60 years, CAAS has developed 218 new plant varieties and animal breeds, 130 new products and 290 new technologies. The extension area of the new plant varieties reached 37 million hectares and animal breeds 210 million.
Every year, it sends an average of 70,000 researchers to work in the countryside and cultivate an average of 1.06 million grass-root technicians and farmers.
The Institute of Crop Sciences' innovation team for wheat germplasm resources and genetic improvement wins
the first-ever National Innovation Team Award at the 2016 National Science and Technology Progress Awards.