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Rarest Baishan fir gets first young plant in lab

By Fang Tian (People's Daily Online)    16:45, January 12, 2018

A prestigious university in east China’s Zhejiang province has bred the world’s first Baishan fir in lab, the most endangered conifer in the world, reported Thursday.

Baishan fir, often referred to as “the pandas of plants,” is an exceptionally rare coniferous tree endemic to coastal Zhejiang province, leaving only three individual specimens in the wild.

A research team from Zhejiang University chose artificial cultivation to protect the living Cretaceous Period fossil. They pricked out an immature embryo from a Baishan fir seed, and got a young plant through axenic cultivation in a lab.

Before the success, other researchers tried to cultivate a fir with lateral buds, but no evidence shows that it works.

The artificially bred plant means much to Baishan fir. It not only helps the rarest and most endangered species survive extinction, but also provides the possibility of increasing genetic diversity.

A national patent was applied for the breakthrough technology.

Photo: Baishan fir/ Provided by Qingyuan

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