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China makes progress in space seed breeding
2005-10-15 04:08:09 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- China has carried nearly 1,200 species of seeds to space aboard its return satellites and Shenzhou-series spaceships, and have planted most of them in large scale.

According to Chinese Society of Astronautics (CSA), China has conducted 11 times of space seed breeding experiments, 998 species on return satellites and 200-odd on Shenzhou-series spacecraft.

The seeds including grain and oil crops (47 percent), vegetables (18 percent), flowers, grass, mushrooms and insects.

The experiment results show vitamin content of vegetables grown from space seeds is 281.5 percent of that of ordinary vegetables, microelements of ferrum, zinc and carotene are also higher than normal, according to experts.

Forty percent of mutated space seeds can be used in space breeding experiments. The country has bred more than 50 new species and is breeding more than 200 new species through the experiments.

The plantation of space tomatoes and green peppers in southwest China's Sichuan Province which started in 1999 have raised the average yield by 10 to 20 percent, with the fruits bigger in size and better in quality.

To date, China has approved large-scale plantation of 43 species of space seeds. Space seeds breeding centers have been established in regions including Beijing, Shanghai and Heilongjiang Province, according to CSA.

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