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Research Institutes (Beijing)

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Institute of Crop Sciences (ICS)

Source: Department of International Cooperation of CAAS

Institute of Crop Sciences (ICS) is a non-profit state-owned institute regrouped by the former Institute of Crop Germplasm Resources, Institute of Crop Breeding & Cultivation and the Crop Mutation Breeding Laboratory of Institute for Application of Atomic Energy in 2003. There are 350 staffs, including 92 research professors, 95 research associates, 51 PhD advisors. Over 500 graduate candidates, 60 post-doctoral fellows and 30 visiting scholars are studying here. After 10 years’ development, ICS has established a comprehensive discipline system, a competitive research team, an advanced research platform and experimental station network in crop science, which made it innovative and influential globally. The current Director General is Dr. Wan Jianmin.


 

RESEARCH UNITS AND PRIORITIES
With the goal of resolving basic, critical, and prospective key problems for the development of crop science and technology, ICS focuses on germplasm resource investigation, gene discovery, breeding of new varieties, and crop cultivation. The major research directions are collection, conservation, evaluation, and utilization of crop germplasm resources, as well as driving new germplasm and material innovation. In addition, ICS devotes to investigate the genetics and breeding of japonica rice, wheat, corn, soybean and minor cereals; crop gene discovery and utilization; functional gene evaluation and utilization; molecular breeding; crop bioinformatics; crop cultivation and physiology; tillage and ecology; informatization of crop production; and cereal quality control and risk evaluation.
ICS’s research units include:
  • The crop germplasm resources protection and research center
  • The crop genetics and breeding department
  • The crop molecular biology department
  • The crop cultivation and physiology department.

RESEARCH PLATFORM
The scientific research premises encompass 70,000 m2, which includes a 10,000 m2 automated greenhouse and a 1,000 m2 automated drought-resistance identification facility. The pilot station system, which emulates the major ecological zones in China, covers an area of 300 hectares.

A number of research facilities are available at ICS, including:
  • the National Genebank;
  • the National Key Facility for Gene Resources and Genetic Improvement;
  • the National Engineering Laboratory of Crop Molecular Breeding;
  • the National Plant Transgenic Technology Research Center;
  • the National Wheat Improvement Center;
  • the Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) for Crop Genetic Resources and Germplasm innovation;
  • the Grain Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Testing Center of MOA;
  • the Key Laboratory of MOA for Wheat Biology and Genetic Breeding; and
  • the National R&D Center for Coarse Cereal Processing (Beijing).
ICS has built preliminary technology platforms for high throughput genomics, proteomics, and cytomics and has established phenotype identification facilities to test crop resistance to disease, insects, and abiotic stresses.

ICS has established a network with different agricultural institutes nationally wide in germplasm collection, conservation and utilization, wheat breeding technology, maize improvement, soybean molecular breeding, space-induced mutation breeding and food production. In addition, collaboration with seed companies is also playing an important role in promoting dissemination of new varieties and technologies.

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION
ICS has been vigorously carrying out international collaborations. Since 2003, ICS has built collaborative relationships with over 60 countries and international organizations, including the United States, Brazil, Russia, IRRI, CIMMYT, IPGRI, UNDP and Bill Gates Foundation. ICS was awarded the International Collaboration Base by Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in 2008.

ICS’s Joint Laboratories and Network including:
  • CAAS-INRA Joint Lab on Cereal Crop Genomics;
  • MOST-USDA Joint Research Center for Wheat Quality and Pathology;
  • CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Lab for Wheat Quality;
  • CAAS-CIMMYT Joint Lab for Maize Molecular Breeding;
  • CAAS-Bioversity International Joint Lab;
  • China-Australia Joint Center for Wheat Improvement;
  • Labex China for Crop Germplasm Research.
  • ICS has led to establish crop science research network in East Asia with Japan and Korea. The crop science seminar in East Asia is held by the three parties in turn.

Besides, some influential conferences were held, such as World Soybean Research Conference VIII, the Third International Crop Molecular Breeding Conference and the upcoming 7th International Crop Science Congress in 2016.

ICS has been carrying out international collaborative projects in different research areas. The projects are supported by MOST, MOA, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA), international organizations (Bill Gates Foundation, CIMMYT, Bioversity International, IAEA etc.) and private sectors.

RESEARCH PROGRESS
Based on the directions of crop science and industrial development, ICS has got major progress in the basic and applied basic research on crop germplasm resources, crop genetics and breeding, crop molecular biology, crop cultivation and physiology, produced a number of scientific and innovative achievements.

COORDINATION OF NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC PROGRAMS

ICS has undertaken a number of national programs, including National Basic Research Program (“973” Program), National Hi-Tech Research and Development Program (“863” Program), National Key Technology Research and Development Program of MOST, and National Natural Science Foundation program, etc.
These programs including:
  •  Diversity of important functional gene of main crops and its utilization
  •  Genetic effects and utilization of founder parents in major cereal crops
  •  Important agronomic haplotype of core collection in main crops and its interaction
  •  Plant molecular breeding technology and variety cultivation
  •  Crop molecular breeding, etc.

BASIC AND APPLIED BASIC RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS

Since 2003, ICS has built the national crop germplasm resources protection and utilization system to safely conserve all 420,000 crop germplasm resources. Moreover, the establishment of genetic resources and a gene modification science and technology platform has led to the discovery of over 1,200 genes that can be maintained to improve crops. Through the conventional and molecular breeding technology system, ICS researchers have produced 960 new elite and multi-resistant breeding materials and have released 105 new crop varieties. In addition, ICS has developed high-yield and high-efficient cultivation technologies with the application area constantly widened.

The Institute has been awarded 5 first prizes and 9 second prizes of National Prize for Progress in Science and Technology, as bellow:
The First Prize including:
  • the wheat quality evaluation system and molecular improvement technology (Year 2008);
  • the dwarf-male-sterile wheat and its breeding technology (Year 2010);
  • the rice strip resistant breeding technology system (Year 2010);
  • Soybean cv.Zhonghuang13 of wide-adaptability, high-yield and high-quality based on the soybean high-efficiency breeding technology system (Year 2012).

The Second Prize including:
  • the crop germplasm technology index system (Year 2009), which clearly stated the distribution and enrichment of our crop germplasm resources; and
  • the maize high-yield high-efficiency technology system and promotion model (Year 2012).

RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS
During the recent five years, ICS has published 2320 scientific papers in peer-reviewed Journal such as Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Communication, PNAS, Plant Cell and other journals, among them 835 are SCI papers, and the average impact factor is 2.4. Besides, ICS has published 110 scientific monographs.

ICS was the first to complete wheat D Genome framework map in the world, found that the important genes are widely distributed in the central region of chromosome arm; the result was published in Nature 2013. ICS researchers cloned the rice-related genes, specified its function and mechanism, which was published in Nature Communication 2012. Researchers found the soybean optical insensitive gene and defied its mechanism, which was published in PNAS 2009.

ICS has become a leading force for the implementation of major science and technology schemes of China and played a leading role in crop science and technology development.