Space-exposed mango seeds planted in Zhanjiang

Updated : 2016-12-01

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Recently returned mango seeds that spent 33 days orbiting the Earth on the Shenzhou 11 space mission are ready to be planted in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province.

It is hoped that the effects of radiation from outer space might result in improved variants of the tropical fruit.

Scientists at the South Subtropical Crops Research Institute will be tasked with planting the seeds and monitoring and recording their findings.

It is the first time spaceflight mutation on mangoes has been tested in China.

Researchers at the South Subtropical Crops Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences in Zhanjiang study space-exposed mango seeds. [Photo by Feng Wenxing/gdzjdaily.com.cn]

There is no guarantee that the mutations which have taken place on the seeds will result in improvements, with many similar cases returning negative results.

"Developing the seeds into seedlings will not be an easy task," said Zhan Rulin, deputy head of the institute.

Zhan said that nonetheless, space mutation is of great significance in developing new varieties of mangoes.

The mango seeds, exposed to radiation, various cabin pressures and weightlessness, have the ability to gain traits not capable by normal experiments.

The breeding program was jointly carried out by Hainan State Farms Agribusiness Group and the South Subtropical Crops Research Institute, subject to the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences.

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