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Post at: Aug 19 2021

China's First Space Rice

Recent Context

  • China has harvested its first batch of 'space rice' at the space breeding research centre of South China Agricultural University in China.

What is Space Rice

  • Space Rice ore, Rice from heaven' as it is being called by chinese people is rice harvested from seeds that went on a 23-day moon mission with China's Chang'e-5 lunar probe in November 2020.

Process Followed

  • China's first batch of rice seeds from space came back to earth
    • They were planted at south China Agricultural University
    • After 4 months of growth, around 2000 "space rice plants" dropped their ear.
    • This harvest is collected, best seeds out of this will  be bred in lab.
    • After further testing, seeds will be planted in field giving new variety of rice.

Need for such missions

  • Space breeding has always been a passion for scientist around the world to study the influence of cosmic rays, vaccum, microgravity space environment on organisms from the earth.
  • China has been taking seeds of rice and other crops to space since 1987.
  • It is believed that once seeds are exposed to the environment in space, they may mutate and produce higher yields once planted on earth.

When will 'Rice from Heaven' be available for consumption

  • Chinese people will only find this rice on their food plate after the seeds from the harvest will pasrs all ncecessary test for disease, pathogens etc.
  • It will take three to four years before rice enter the market.

Conclusion

  • This 'rice from heaven' can offer new varieties of rice that will boost china's grain harvest and enhance its breeding industry's efficiency.
  • By applying the space breeding technology to super hybrid rice, the seeds can provide more and better genetic source to expand the seed bank.
  • Basically, these efforts will safeguard China's food security.
  • It could also lead to planting in space for longer terms when China's space station starts to operate.

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