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HZAU Alumnus Zhou Lei: Recipient of “China Youth May Fourth Medal”

On May 8, Zhou Lei, an alumnus of HZAU and a principal investigator at the Institute of Food Crops, Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences, was awarded the 26th “China Youth May Fourth Medal”. Over the years, he has made major progress in the rice genetic breeding and application research. The awarding of this medal, which met the centenary of the founding of Communist Youth League of China, would inspire the young people to sharpen their strength and courage and give full play to their exemplary role.

CCTV news footage [source/ CCTV]

In the rice experimental field, Zhou and his team members are selecting new cultivars from a new batch of more than 2,000 strains during spring farming.

Zhou is working in the laboratory [source/ CCTV]

Breeding is an arduous process strongly affected by sunlight and temperature. Zhou and his team have devoted most of their time to rice farming in the laboratory and fields, and kept collecting germplasm resources and selecting breeding parents for 12 years, so as to develop rice varieties with transparent appearance, long and thin grain, excellent physicochemical indexes and good taste. Several premium rice cultivars with multi-resistances have been finally bred among tens of thousands of hybrid rice combinations.

Motivated by China’s Father of Hybrid Rice Yuan Longping and other forerunners, Zhou’s team has long been committed to the rice breeding. Funded by more than ten national and provincial key projects, his team has successfully cracked “the hardest nut” in the rice breeding technologies and approaches. For instance, they have unlocked a number of bottlenecks such as cloning of cold-tolerance genes at the booting stage in rice and inadequate anther culture ability of indica rice, as well as the bottlenecks in traditional breeding technologies including poor targeting, long cycle time and low efficiency.

Zhou is working in the laboratory [source/ CCTV]

Scientific and technological innovation is the key to enhancing the advantages of “Chinese Rice”. Up to now, Zhou’ team has developed 16 new rice cultivars, which have grown in more than 50 million mu (≈33.333km2) fields, increasing grain production by more than 1.5 billion kg. Thus the rice sector has been greatly promoted in Hubei province and even in the middle reaches of Yangtze River.

Source: http://
Translated by: Liu Shuying
Supervised by: Guo Haiyan