Edition: English | 中文简体 | 中文繁体 Монгол
Homepage > Sci Tech Video

World's first space breeding mango cells survive


03-24-2017 08:22 BJT

(Source: CGTN)

Chinese scientists believe they have made a break-through in the breeding of seeds in space. For thirty years, they've been experimenting with the concept but without much luck. However developments from a recent space voyage have thrown up some exciting results for the program.

When the shenzhou-11 spacecraft launched into orbit last October, the two astronauts aboard had some company. Various seeds of all different types -- including four test tubes of embryonic mangoes.

"Mango seeds must be planted within days after being taken from the kernel. They cannot be stored. They just dry out and lose vitality going into space. So we've worked out a way to send them into space," Wang Songbiao with Space Mango Breeding Program said.

The seeds -- along with the crew members -- spent 33 days aboard -- subject to all the challenges of space travel: radiation, cabin pressure and weightlessness.

The hope -- that the harsh environment would trigger new genetic traits in the mango cells -- and create new and better-quality varieties.

When Shenzhou returned to earth, researchers found the cells had survived -- and mutated.

Four months later-- they've grown new tissues -- and scientists are picking out ones with the best genes for future mango crops.

"We have bred over 1,000 jars of mango seeds after they returned from Shenzhou-11. Once the test is successful, it will be the first of its kind in the world," Peng Longrong with Space Mango Breeding Program said.

"These space mangoes can prevent pests. This is very important. They also help improve quality and yields so that people around China can eat mangoes without any safety concerns," Peng said.

These new varieties of mangoes are far from being ready for public consumption. but it represents progress for china's space breeding program. for more than 30 years, thousands of seeds of all types have made the same trip to space.

Scientists acknowledge space breeding is expensive - and should ideally be used in combination with traditional seed breeding.

But researchers say what they've achieved in space is light years ahead of what could ever have been accomplished on earth alone.

Follow us on

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Instagram

  • Please scan the QR Code to follow us on Wechat