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National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement


The National Development and Reform Commission invested 140 million yuan in the National Key Facility for Crop Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement  with CAAS as the supporting unit. It is the only National Key Facility in the field of agriculture and biology. The facility represents a major step forward and landmark in basic research and basic applied research of China’s agricultural science. It was completed and put into use in November 2003 and has now become the technology platform for sharing and exchanging studies in the country. The Facility is centered on three scientific problems, which are theoretical basis and technological innovation of crop gene resources and new gene discovery in agriculture and biology, molecular basis and functional approach of formation of crop traits, and theoretical basis and technology system of molecular design of crop varieties. It mainly focuses on gene resources identification of main crops such as rice, wheat, corn, cotton and soybean, new gene discovery of important crop traits, functional genomics, germplasm and parent material innovation, and molecular breeding.

Major Research Directions:     

  • New gene discovery and germplasm innovation

  • Crop molecular breeding

  • Crop functional genomics

  • Plant proteomics

  • Crop bioinformatics

The overall goal of NAFCRI is to apply multidisciplinary approaches of molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, etc. to the development of more efficient strategy and related technologies that can achieve better exploitation of the genetic diversity in the rich resources of Chinese crop germplasm, better understanding and manipulation of important traits, and more effective molecular breeding systems for the genetic improvement of major crops (wheat, rice, maize, soybean and cotton, etc.) in China. To achieve this, NAFCRI developed 5 Research Programs, each of which will function as the national centers in the following five areas:
(i)Research Program for Crop Germplasm Research: The primary research focuses of the program are the collection, conservation and characterization of crop germplasms, construction of the core collections of crop germplasm as direct services for the national crop breeding programs.
(ii) Research Program for Crop Functional Genomics: Research focusing on germplasm-based gene discovery, allelic mining and cloning, network/pathway dissection of complex traits, and functional analyses of genes/QTLs affecting crop traits of agronomic importance in rice, wheat, maize, and soybean.
(iii) Crop Molecular Breeding Program: This program will focus on establishing the national crop molecular breeding networks (rice, wheat, maize and soybean) for large-scale transfer by BC breeding of useful genetic diversity from the crop germplasms into elite Chinese crop cultivars, developing theories and technology for highly efficient gene/allele discovery, gene/QTL function based trait improvement, and breeding superior crop cultivars by molecular designing and selection, and developing highly efficient transformation systems for the major crops.
(iv) The national center of the database and information sharing for crop gene resources, functional genomics, crop molecular breeding and related information.
(v) The national center for advanced training, academic exchanging and international collaboration in above areas.