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I. Institute History

Institute of Crop Science of CAAS is a non-profit state-owned institute regrouped in July 2003 by the former Institute of Crop Breeding & Cultivation, Institute of Crop Germplasm Resources and the Crop Mutation Breeding Laboratory of Institute of Atomic Energy Application according to national requirements on scientific and technical system reform. It conducts researches on crop germplasm resource, genetic breeding, cultivation physiology and molecular biology and functions as an innovation center in the field of crop sciences, an international cooperation center and a talent training base.

II. Research Team

The institute now employs 347 staff, including one academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences, one academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, two specialists of “Thousands Talents Program”, one distinguished professor of “Changjiang Scholars Program”, two National Young and Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions, one winner of National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, seven scholars of “New Century Talents Project”, six chief scientists of “973 Program”, 10 Ministerial and Provincial Young and Middle-aged Experts with Outstanding Contributions, six outstanding talents and six innovative teams in agricultural researches under Ministry of Agriculture, two innovative teams of Science and Technology Innovation Project under Academy of Agricultural Sciences, nine outstanding talents of Academy of Agricultural Sciences at Level I post, 24 at Level II post, 51 doctoral supervisors and 83 researchers.

III. Research Platforms and Facilities

The Institute is functionally divided into administrative offices, research departments, and core facility. The institute is administered by the general office, research management office, human resource office, and accounting and project management office. Research departments are Germplasm Resource Protection and Research Center, Genetic Breeding Department, Molecular Biology Department, and Cultivation Physiology Department. The core facility contains a number of service centers and experimental farms that support National Engineering Laboratory of Crop Molecular Breeding, National Plant Transgenic Technology Research Center, National Wheat Improvement Center, National Genebank, National Center for Corp Germplasm Preservation, National Soybean Improvement Branch Center (Beijing), National R&D Center for Coarse Cereal Processing (Beijing), Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) for Crop Genetic Resources and Germplasm Innovation, Key Laboratory of MOA for Wheat Biology and Genetic Breeding, and Grain Quality Supervision, Inspection and Testing Center of MOA. It has built preliminary technology platforms for major science engineering concerning agricultural gene resources and genetic modification. The nine experimental stations in main ecological zones are located in Beijing (Changping and Shunyi), Hebei (Langfang and Guyuan), Henan (Xinxiang), Jiangsu (Nanjing), Yunnan (Yuanmou), Jilin (Gongzhuling), and Hainan (Sanya). The research platform hosts 352 major instruments of over 100,000 Yuan, 12,000m2 of automated greenhouse, 28 phytotrons, 7200 m2 of drought resistance identification facilities, 3000 m2 facilities for disease and pest resistance identification, 11,000 m2 of mesh rooms and 287 hectares of experimental fields. These facilities demonstrate that the institute is adequately equipped with experimental conditions to engage in S&T innovations on crops.

The institute has established collaborative relationship in crop science and technology with more than ten international research organizations and over 60 countries, including International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); the cooperation achievements are partly represented in the establishment of CAAS-INRA Joint Lab on Cereal Crop Genomics, CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Wheat Quality Laboratory, CAAS-Biodiversity Research Center, and China-Japan-Korea Crop Scientific Research Network.

IV. Research Goals

With the goal of resolving basic, critical and future key problems for the development of crop science and technology, Institute of Crop Science conducts researches centered on the overall objectives of “germplasm resource investigation as the basis, gene discovery as the core, variety development as the objective and cultivation technique as the technical supports", to strengthen discipline intersection, team integration and sci-tech talents and resources sharing. It aims to establish an integrated research platform ranging from germplasm collection and storage, identification and evaluation, gene discovery and genetic mechanism analysis to breeding, germplasm innovation, new variety, cultivation physiology and demonstrative popularization.

V. Awards and Achievements

(I) Major Research Funding

Currently, the institute is awarded grants from several government agencies including National Key Program on Transgenic Cultivar Breeding, “973” Program, “863” Program, National Natural Science Fund, 948 Program, and special projects of germplasm resource protection and international cooperation. The research fund in 2011 was estimated to be 100 million Yuan RMB, and the international cooperation fund up to 5.3 million US dollars. The abundant research commissions lay solid foundations to build the institute as one of the best in the world.

(II) Major Scientific and Technological Achievements

Since 2003, the institute has won five first prizes of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology, 9 second prizes of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology, and 25 provincial and ministerial awards.

 "Evaluation on Collection and Storage of Chinese Crop Germplasm Resources and Their Application" won the first prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology in 2003.

 "Establishment of Wheat Variety Quality Evaluation System and Research on Molecular Improvement Technology" won the first prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology in 2008.

“Innovation and Application of Dwarf-male-sterile Wheat and Its Efficient Breeding” won the first prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology in 2010.

“Selection and Application of New Japonica Rice Variety with Resistance to Rice Stripe Disease and High Yield and High Quality” won the first prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology in 2010. 

“Selection and Application of New Soybean Cultivar Zhonghuang 13 with High Yield, High quality and Broad Adaptability” won the first prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology in 2012.

The institute has published 1896 papers with 615 in international journals, 149 scientific and technical monographs, obtained 26 software copyrights, 96 new crop varieties (20 by national approval), and applied 53 patents (35 granted) and 24 crop protection.

        (III) Major Research Achievements

The institute has built an advanced system to protect crop germplasm resources, comprising of national long-term genebank, national backup genebank, 10 medium-term genebanks, 42 national field genebanks, 137 original habitat protection points and one 1 national germplasm resources information center. The genebanks host 410,000 germplasms for over 200 crops, providing over 40,000 germplasm resources nationwide every year.

Since 2003, superior new varieties such as the soybean variety "Zhonghuang 13" and "Zhonghuang 35", the corn variety "Zhongdan 808" and "Zhongdan 909", the wheat variety "Zhongmai 175" and "Lunxuan 987" and the rice variety "Zhongdao 1" have made significant contributions to national food security and farmers' benefits.

VI. Societies and Journals

The institute editorial office is affiliated to Chinese Society of Crop Sciences, Genetic Resource Branch of Chinese Agricultural Science Societies, and Crop Biotechnology Branch of China Agro-Biotechnology Society.

The Institute of Crop Science jointly sponsors publications of Journal of Plant Genetic Resources (bimonthly) with Chinese Agricultural Science Societies, and China Seed Industry (monthly) jointly with China National Seed Association.

The Institute of Crop Science as the second sponsor together with Chinese Society of Crop Sciences jointly publish Acta Agronomica Sinica (monthly), The Crop Journal (bimonthly) and Crops (bimonthly).