Wednesday, October 26, 2016

China’s top hybrid rice expert at IRRI to discuss frontier research

Xie (third from left), wants to boost collaboration between FAAS and IRRI. He is shown here handing a souvenir to Dr. Hughes, They are joined by Chinese scientists from IRRI and China's rice research institutions. (More photos)

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines –26 October. A group of scientists from China led by world-renowned hybrid rice breeder Hua’an Xie, a professor at the Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (FAAS), are at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) this week to explore areas of possible collaboration.

Xie, who had been involved in some of IRRI’s breeding projects in the past, commended the institute for “having laid the foundation of rice science and technology, developed elite breeding lines that benefited all rice-producing countries including China, and trained many rice scientists who are leading rice research and development programs globally.”

“IRRI continues to lead rice research by providing new ideas, concepts, methods, techniques, and germplasm,” Xie said. “FAAS would like to strengthen its collaboration with IRRI in science, technology, and capacity building.”

He said further that he would like to help IRRI gain access to China-developed rice technologies as well as funds for “international collaboration and training.”

Xie and his team toured IRRI’s facilities and met with IRRI breeders as well as experts on genetic resources, grain quality, and training.

“IRRI is looking to strengthen joint research with Chinese institutions," said IRRI Deputy Director General for Research Jacqueline Hughes. "We are more than happy to explore opportunities with FAAS, with Prof. Xie’s support.

"There are many areas in which IRRI and Chinese institutions can work together," she added. "These include improved technologies, molecular approaches, and capacity development. Hybrid rice has had its own challenges and I believe there are areas in its development that might need revisiting; Prof. Xie’s expertise and experience would be very valuable.”

Xie is one of the top authorities on hybrid rice in China, having worked on its breeding since the early 1970s. He established an efficient hybrid rice breeding system and successfully bred Shanyou 63, the most widely-grown hybrid rice variety in China, covering about 62 million hectares from 1986 to 2010. The hybrid rice varieties he has developed have been successfully introduced and planted in 14 countries.

An academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xie also leads the 13th Five-Year Plan for rice breeding in Southern China and had previously sat on the National People's Congress for several years.

He had used IRRI breeding lines for his work and acknowledged IRRI's contribution to rice breeding in China.

With Xie are Jiatuan Zheng, Zhiaxiong Zhan, and Zhawei Jiang (Hybrid Rice Cultivation Research), professors at the Rice Research Institute; Jianfu Zhang, a professor at the National Rice Engineering Laboratory; and Shuijin Zhang, associate professor at the Super Hybrid Rice Research Institute. They were hosted by Drs. Hei Leung, head of IRRI’s Genetics and Biotechnology Division, Guoyou Ye, and Bo Zhou.


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