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Space seed breeding makes breakthrough, yielding nearly 1,000 new species

With the return of the crew of China's spacecraft Shenzhou-13, a total of 12,000 seeds finished their space breeding journey, which is expected to enhance food security, as seeds are as important as chips in the semiconductor industry.

Clover, oats, rice, edible mushrooms, and cabbage seeds were carried into space by the Shenzhou-13 and brought back to Earth on April 16, after 183 days in space. 

It has been 35 years since China's first space seed breeding effort in 1987, and nearly 1,000 new species have been created, of which 200 have displayed outstanding performances, according to media reports. Space seed breeding uses cosmic radiation to mutate the genes of seeds sent into space to create new species for greater variety. 

China's space seed project has bred many vegetable and fruit species, including such common items as apples, Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 


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