A key laboratory for gene editing innovation at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs was unveiled in Sanya, Hainan province, on Thursday and will become another contributor to the Nanfan breeding base dubbed China’s Silicon Valley of agriculture.
Last year, the ministry added a new batch of key laboratories to its list, including those regarding efficient breeding, farmland conservation, smart equipment and green production.
With a promising prospective, gene editing technologies have become the focus of international competition in the field of biological breeding.
The ministry in January approved the establishment of the key laboratory for gene editing innovation in Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City in Sanya.
Zhu Jiankang, a member of the United States’ National Academy of Sciences, was assigned as director of the lab.
Led by the scientific research teams from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the lab will develop a gene editing system with independent intellectual property rights, cultivate ground-breaking varieties, and build a new industrial chain, the CAAS said.
Qian Qian, director of the academy’s Institute of Crop Sciences and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the lab will help China improve the original innovation capability and international competitiveness of the biological breeding industry.
“The lab will contribute to ensuring the national seed industry and food security,” Qian said.
On the same day, a signing ceremony was held in the city for the establishment of an international agricultural breeding center.
CAAS vice-president Sun Tan, Nafees Meah from the International Rice Research Institute, and Bram Govaerts from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center signed a letter of cooperation through a video link, according to the CAAS.
CAAS president Wu Kongming said the cooperation will boost the exploration and utilization of germ plasm resources, biological breeding research, technical training and the innovation of the global seed industry.