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Space Breeding

Space breeding refers to the technique of sending seeds or microorganisms into space (200-400km) on a recoverable satellite or in other recoverable spacecraft. In the strong-radiation, high-vacuum, low-gravity and alternating magnetic field space environment, seeds may undergo beneficial mutation. Upon returning to Earth, mutated seeds will be selected and planted to breed strains with higher quality and yield. Since August 1987, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation has offered 21 space-breeding services on its 15 recoverable satellites and 6 Shenzhou spacecraft, with over 1,200 varieties of seeds on board, including grain, economic crops, vegetables, flowers, and microbial strains, breeding a set of new crop strains of high yield and good quality, and creating a number of germplasm resources. These seeds include rice, wheat, cotton, rapeseed, soybean, peanut, tomato, green pepper, eggplant and other crops. Up to May 2010, 60 new strains have passed national or provincial appraisal. According to the statistics of China's agricultural sector, China has more than 2 million hectares of fields planted with space seeds, increasing grain yield by over 1 billion kilograms with 2 billion yuan in direct economic benefits.

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