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|Thursday, April 27, 2000, updated at 16:12(GMT+8)|
Chinese Scientists Breed New Variety of TomatoChinese researchers announced April 6 that they have bred a new variety of tomato from seeds once carried by satellite.
The new variety of tomato is "an unusual leap forward" from previous species in terms of quality and quantity, according to the scientists with the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (HAAS), in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. In 1992, HAAS placed tomato seeds called "Beijing Yellow" in a satellite, which traveled in outerspace for eight days.
Prior to this experiment, Chinese experts successfully bred new varieties of rice and wheat with the help of aerospace technology. Deng Liping, a researcher with HAAS who heads the experiment, said that scientists analyzed the tomatoes grown from the seeds and found changes in a main enzyme which carries the genetic character.
Experts said the yield of the new tomato is ten times as large as previous species, and it has stronger resistance against plant diseases and insect pests. The breeding period of tomatoes is about half as long as that on earth.
China has so far launched 17 return satellites, and breeding new varieties of crops was among the missions of the outerspace exploration.
Early in 1988, the Ministry of Agriculture made a series of measures to increase output of vegetables and grains. The yield of vegetables is expected to reach 360 million tons this year.
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