TAN KAH KEE Science Award

Tan Kah Kee Award in Agricultural Sciences

Li Zhensheng (1931- ) is a native of Zibo, Shandong province. Li is a geneticist. He graduated from Shandong Agricultural University in 1951. He is vice of dean of Genetics Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is an academician both of Chinese Academy of Sciences and of Third World Academy of Sciences. He mainly engaged in the study of the genetics of wheat. Among his many accomplishments, Li succeeded in breeding new crossbreed types, such as small couchgrass wheat octoploid, iso-additional series, iso-replacement series and ectopic series. He also successfully transferred certain genes of couchgrass, including drought endurance, dry and hot air withstanding and multiple wheat diseases resistance. He later succeeded in breeding new small couchgrass wheat types: Nos.4, 5 and 6. No.6 small couchgrass wheat had been accumulatively popularized to 54 million mu per till in 1988, an output increase of 1.6 billion kilograms. Li also established a new system for wheat chromosome engineering breeding. He made use of the blue albumen gene of couchgrass as a genetic mark character and led the creation of blue monomer wheat system. He solved two complicated problems in the monomer wheat utilization process: 'single-valence chromosome excursion' and 'excessive workload in appraising chromosome quantity.' He also succeeded in breeding nullisomic wheat self-fruit bearing and made use of nullisomic wheat inaugurating a new method of quick selectively breeding iso-replacement series - nullisomic backcross method, laying the foundation for wheat chromosome engineering breeding. In 1985, he won First-class Prize of National Invention by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. In 1990, he was awarded Fellowship of the Third World Academy of Sciences. In 1995, he won Ho Leung Ho Lee Sci-tech Advancement Award in Agricultural Science, and was awarded by Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation in Hong Kong. In 2005, he was conferred China Agriculture Elite Award by Ministry of Agriculture. In 2006, Li was given the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award, the highest scientific prize awarded in China.



Li Zhensheng, Chen Shuyang and Xue Wenjiang

(Northwest Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences)


"Xiaoyan No.6" (former code name Ro) bred by distant hybridization between Triticum aestivum and Agropyron elongatum was released as a commercial variety by Crop Variety Examination and Approval Committee of Shaanxi Province in 1981.

"Xiaoyan No. 6" is a translocation line with winterness, early maturity and good quality, which is a semidwarf plant (90cm high) and resistant to lodging. It has more spikes than that of controlled variety in unit area due to its strong tillering ability. It is adapted to dry hot wind before harvest and fills rapidly at milking stage and shows golden color when matured. The wheat spikes are fusiform, long awned with white glume and white grain, thousand grain weight is 42g.The variety is resistant to stem rust, leaf rust and leaf blight, light affect scab and tolerance to stripe rust.

The breeding procedure of the hybrids between T. asstivum and Ag. elongatum is done in two steps. The first step is to establish new types ,that is : ((common wheat x Ag. elongatum) x common wheat) x common wheat. The three barriers: cross in compatibility, hybrids sterility and crazy segregation were overcome in this step. The second step is to breed new variety by crossing the new types with common wheat. Xiaoyan No.6is bred by crossing new type-Xiaoyan96 with common wheat variety-ST2422/464 following by lasser treatment at F4.

"Xiaoyan No.6" contains high protein (14.7-17.3%), which has proper fractions. Its wet gluten and sedimentation value are higher (40.6%, 58ml).The variety is superior for its excellent milling quality (flour extraction 66.8%, ash content 0.423%), better rheological stability of flour (5.9min), high quality value (58)and tensile strength (64cmg) as well as better baking quality, which has reached the level of standard strong flour quality. The variety has been grown in 10 provinces, such as Shaanxi, Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Hebei, Anhui, and Jiangsu. Since 1980, the total growing areas of Xiaoyan No.6 have amounted to over 6.6 million ha., producing an additional yield of 2.5billon kg.

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