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International Science & Technology Cooperation Base of China

The Institute of Crop Science (ICS)was titled “International Science & Technology Cooperation Base” (hereafter referred to as “the Base”) by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Dec. 2008. During the last five years, ICS has been working to give a full play to the advantages of the Base with focus on the significant national demand for food security and sustainable development through performaing the following tasks:improving collection and introduction of crop germplasm resources; enhancing science and technology cooperation in key fields of crop science; introducing high level talents; cultivating specialized leadership; and strengthening team building for innovation in science and technology.

ICS has established the channels for introducing and exchanging germplasm resources from other countries including Russia, Nepal, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil and USA and international organizations including CIMMYT, IRRI; expanded the fields of international agricultural cooperation; and made significant progress in introduction and joint appraisal of germplasm resources, wheat and maize genomics research as well as conserving diversity of soybean genetic resources, which laid genetic resources foundation for discovering new genes required for China’s biotechnology research and breeding. Germplasm introduction has been made with profound changes in both quality and quantity, and meanwhile significant breakthrough and innovation in technology has been achieved.

Through cooperation and exchange with national scientific research institutions in the United States, France and other countries and international institutions such as CIMMYT, ICS has conducted genetic resources miningand applied genomics research with focus on wheat, maize, rice, soybean and other crops; established genotyping and gene discovery technical platform; demonstrated physiological and genetic mechanism of important traits including high yield, disease resistance, water-saving and drought tolerance; mapped and cloned a set of important genes; and developed molecular breeding technologies and methods.

ICS actively invites well-known experts and scholars from other countries to China for academic lectures and collaborative researches to solve some key issues of agricultural production in China. ICS encourages and supports its staff to participate in international conferences, field investigations, academic visiting and cooperative researches through “going out” strategy. ICS has organized international conferences and trainings with significant impacts, thus greatly promoting international academic exchanges while presenting its achievements in crop science and research, whicn in turn increases international impacts of CAAS.

Since the Base is established, ICS has received experts and scholars from more than 60 countries including USA, Russia, UK, France, Canada, and Brazil for visiting and cooperative research and has also established good cooperation with domestic institutions.The Base has now become one of China’s the most important bases for cooperative research and international exchange in crop germplasm resources, genetic breeding, farming system, crop production and biotechnology.

CAAS-INRA Joint Lab on Cereal Crop Genomics

Dr. Huqu Zhai, the former president of CAAS, visited INRA in Oct. 2004 and signed the memorandum with Ms. Marion Guillou, president of INRA, for establishing CAAS-INRA Joint Lab on Cereal Crop Genomics. Ms. Guillou visited China with her French agricultural delegation in Nov. 2005 and presented at the inauguration of the laboratory.The laboratory is affiliated to ICS of CAAS.

The founding of the joint laboratory bears great significance for boosting agricultural cooperative research between the two countries and promoting Sino-France cooperation in related fields and establishing long-term and stable partner relationship. It has made China one of the principal members in international wheat research. We jointly applied for EU Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development; participated in International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium; and facilitated the construction of Sino-France Demonstration Center for Wheat Research and Production.

CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Wheat Quality Laboratory

CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Wheat Quality Laboratory, founded in 1997, is a major component of cooperative wheat research between CAAS and CIMMYT. Its Chinese principal is Dr. Zhonghu He and the principal representing CIMMYT is Dr. Javier Pena.

Major cooperation fields of the laboratory include the followings: (1) formulating normalized method for evaluation of traditional Chinese food such as noodles and steam breads; (2) introducing, evaluating and utilizing high quality wheat varieties; (3) jointly training graduate students and organizing academic workshops or seminars.

Major progress: established China’s wheat quality and variety appraisal system; introduced 3,000 high-quality wheat varieties which have been used by CAAS and its partners  in breeding 10 high-quality wheat varieties; organized 5 training courses on wheat quality with more than 100 participants; trained15 graduate students through cooperation; 50 participants have been trained or  participated in cooperative research organized by CIMMYT; jointly organized 10 domestic or international academic workshops or seminars; jointly published 30 SCI articles with several prizes won inlcuding the First Prize of National Award for Progress in Science and Technology and First Prize for Progress in Science and Technology in Beijing; five scientists from CIMMYT won China’s Friendship Award or provincial level international cooperation awards.

CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Lab for Maize Molecular Breeding

CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Lab for Maize Molecular Breeding was founded in Aug. 2010. It is affiliated to ICS and led by Dr. Yunbi Xu, a senior scientist jointly appointed by CIMMYT and CAAS. As a research platform providing biotechnology services to the countries in Southeast and Central Asia, it is dedicated to becoming a molecular breeding center for R&D, training and academic exchange and contact with biotechnology centers in South Asia, East Africa, Mexico and other regions.

Maize and wheat are major food crops in Asia andChina. Carrying out R&D of molecular breeding technology and combining it with conventional breeding technology will effectively promote new variety development and breeding process of maize. The joint laboratory engages in the following major researches:

1. Developing maize molecular breeding tools including high-throughput DNA extraction system, genotyping platform and information management system; Undertaking part of the work of biotechnology laboratory to provide molecular breeding services to the countries in East and Southeast Asia.

2. Establishing technical system for trait-marker association analysis; focusing on biotic and abiotic stress research; developing outstanding allele of the gene with important economic traits through association mapping and genetic research or analysis.

3. Developing new maize and wheat varieties with the traits of high yield, high quality and multi-resistance utilizing conventional breeding and molecular marker-assisted breeding technologies.

4. Providing guidance, training and technical services for conducting R&D of molecular breeding technology to Asian countries.

CAAS-Bioversity Research Center

The founding ceremony of CAAS-Bioversity Research Center was held at CAAS on Apr. 15, 2005. Dr. Huqu Zhai, the former president of CAAS and Mr. Emile Frison, president of Bioversity International presented at the ceremony and signed the agreement aiming at enhancing cooperation between both parties in agricultural biodiversity.

Board of directors of the center formed by senior executives of both parties was also founded to exercise decision-making function and board meeting is organized on periodic basis. A secretariat is established under the board for handling daily affairs and maintaining smooth communication between both parties. Affiliates of the center such as Yunnan branch at Yunnan Agricultural University and biotechnology training center at Huazhong Agricultural University have been established and more new affiliates will be established in China’s research institutions according to actual demands.The center has its special laboratory where postdoctoral researchers and several students are engaged in their researches focusing on appraisal, utilization and protection of genetic diversities of oat and buckwheat.

Research projects organized by the center mainly focus on agricultural biodiversity, especially crop genetic resources within agricultural production system in which both parties are interested. Major research fields of the center are as follows:

  • Carrying out appraisal research on agricultural biodiversity (especially biodiversity of those crops that haven’t been fully utilized yet); supporting farmers in China and Asia-Pacific countries to develop their production by supplying them with high- quality germplasm;

  • Promoting communication and exchange of applied technology and information concerning agricultural biodiversity (especially crop genetic resources) at village, regional or national level, helping users especially farmers to improve their capacity in biodiversity utilization and protection;

  • Carrying out policy research on agricultural biodiversity protection and utilization in order to provide scientific basis for establishing global, regional or national policies;

  • Providing support for implementing global action plan for preserving agricultural biodiversity and performing corresponding international obligations.

Sino-US Center for Wheat Quality and Pathology

Sino-US Center for Wheat Quality and Pathology was founded in 2005. It is one of major components of agricultural technology cooperation between MOST and USDA. The laboratory has two separate units, one in ICS of CAAS, China, and the other in Wheat Genetics, Quality Physiology and Disease Research of USDA-ARS in Washington State University, Pullman, USA. Chinese principal of the laboratory is the researcher Dr. Zhonghu He and principal representing USA is Dr. Craig Morris.

Major cooperation fields of the laboratory are as follows: (1) research on characteristics, processing methods and consumer demand of wheat food; (2) quality appraisal of germplasm and genetic resources, and identification of resistance to wheat stripe rust and other diseases; (3) information service and technology transfer: collection, management and publication of information resources for research, education and public services.

Major progress: significant progress has been achieved in the research on wheat grain hardness and molecular mechanism of polyphenol oxidase activity; important progress has been achieved on resistance to wheat stripe rust jointly conducted by Dr. Chen Xianming from USDA, Northwest A&F University and CAAS; introduced 1,000 high quality and disease resistant varieties and groups; jointly published 35 articless, and 10 Chinese scholars have visited the United States for cooperative or postdoctoral research.

Sino-Australia Joint Center for Wheat Improvement

Sino-Australia Joint Center for Wheat Improvement was founded in 2013 and Ms. Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia presented at the inauguration of the center.The center is a major component of the wheat technology cooperation between China and Australia started from 2003 and supported by MOST of China.The Chinese part of the center is formed by Capital Normal University, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Henan Academy of Agricultural Sciences. It is located in ICS of CAAS and led by the researcher Dr. Zhonghu He.The Australian part of the center is located in Murdoch University and led by Professor Ma Wujun and Rudi Appels.

Cooperation between both parties mainly focuses on genomics and molecular breeding and it covers the following aspects: (1) laboratory, experimental field and other research equipments and facilities of both parties are shared between Murdoch University and National Wheat Improvement Center in CAAS; (2) senior executive representing Murdoch University serves as the advisory committee member of CAAS National Wheat Improvement Center to provide consultary services for establishing research strategy and smoothly carrying out relevant scientific researches; (3) both parties organize trainings for graduate students, researchers and scientists.

Major progress: important progress has been achieved in developing method for identification of high and low molecular weight subunit of wheat, discovering new genes and so on; introduced 100 high-quality wheat varieties; jointly trained15 graduate students and published 40 SCI articles.