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12,000 seed varieties return to earth after space trip

About 12,000 seeds carried by the Shenzhou XIII manned spaceship have returned to Earth after being bred in space and will be cultivated into greater varieties to supplement new germplasm resources and ensure national food security. The "passengers" during the six-month space trip included seeds of medicinal herbs from Yunnan province, rice, edible mushrooms, and forage.

Provided by different organizations such as China Agricultural University and the Space Breeding Industry Innovation Alliance, the seeds will be used for different purposes, focusing on basic research or breeding, according to Yang Hongshan, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Yang, from the academy's Lanzhou Institute of Husbandry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said the institute sent 158 grams of forage seeds into space on the Shenzhou XIII spaceship. The 21 pieces included seeds of the oat, alfalfa, red clover, and other varieties. The seeds on board the spaceship were carefully chosen to ensure they can be normally cultivated after returning to Earth.

"According to our breeding goals, we carefully selected the seed varieties that are expected to be superior, rich in protein, and can resist poor environmental conditions," Yang said.

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