December 30,2015 | Vol. 4


New Memorandum of Understanding Signed between CAAS and ANSES

On Nov. 4, 2015, Prof. Li Jiayang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and President of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) met with the visiting delegation headed by Mr. Marc Mortureux, Director General of French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES). The two sides exchanged views on strengthening cooperation in agricultural science and technology, and re-signed new Memorandum of Understanding.
Prof. Li Jiayang welcomed Mr. Marc Mortureux and briefed the new changes of agricultural development in China and the achievements on discipline layout, talent team building and international cooperation in CAAS especially after the launch of the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP) in 2013. He emphasised that ASTIP aims to organize various aspects of scientific research strength to promote the cooperative innovation, and thereby provide a strong scientific and technological support for the development of modern agriculture in China. Read more >>

CAAS Scientist Wins the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

On October 2, 2015, the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO revealed the five exceptional laureates of the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards in the field of life sciences. Chen Hualan, a professor at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (HVRI-CAAS), won the honor as the only representative from the Asia Pacific Region.
Chen has been recognized for her outstanding research in the field of biology of the bird flu virus as well as her contribution to the development and use of effective vaccines for avian influenza control. She and other four laureates were selected from more than 2,600 nominees by an independent and international jury of 13 prominent scientists in the international scientific community.
The For Women in Science Awards Program was jointly initiated by the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO in 1998. Each year, it awards totally five leading female scientists, one from each continent (Africa & the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America), for their contribution in science and to help further their research. Read more >>

Research Update

SHVRI Researchers Indentify miR-130b as a Novel PRRSV Suppressor in Vitro and in Vivo

Recently, the lab of swine reproductive infectious diseases led by Dr. Tong Guangzhi at the Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute (SHVRI) of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) identified miR-130b as a novel Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) suppressor in vitro and in vivo. This finding has been published in the Scientific Reports on Nov. 19 2015 available here: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep17010 .
PRRSV is one the most economically important viral pathogens in pigs. The significant economic losses to the swine industry have stimulated searches for new ways to control PRRSV transmission. Meanwhile, microRNAs can impact viral infections by binding to sequences on viral RNA transcripts, usually resulting in the repression of virus replication. The researchers found that the delivery of multiple miR-130 family mimics, especially miR-130b, resulted in inhibition of PRRSV replication in vitro. Intranasal inoculation of piglets with miR-130b exhibited antiviral activity in vivo and partially protected piglets from an otherwise lethal challenge with Highly Pathogenic PRRSV strain.Read more >>

Progress on Molecular Mechanism of Grain Yield in Rice

Recently, scientists from China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) reached new progress on genetic mechanism of grain yield in rice.
In the study, CNRRI scientists characterized an abnormal flower and dwarf1 (afd1) mutant and AFD1 encoded a DUF640 domain protein. The afd1 mutant exhibited variable characteristics including the dwarfism, long panicles, low seed setting, small grains, and slender and thick hulls. This work would facilitate understanding of the molecular mechanism of vegetative and reproductive development, and provide insight into the functions of AFD1 gene on improving grain yield.Read more >>

CAAS Researchers Reveal a TCP Transcription Factor Essential for Tendril Development in Cucumber

Rare variants are important to agriculture, and the rare traits such as non-shattering of rice and dwarfism of wheat are fixed and selected during domestication. Recently, the Innovation Research Team of Functional Genomics from the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers (IVF), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) exploit a strategy of rare variation mapping to discover a TCP gene essential to tendril development in cucumber (Cucumissativus L.). The results have been published online in Molecular Plant on October 24, 2015.
Tendrils are specialized climbing tools of cucumber, however, the homologous nature of cucumber tendril is controversial dating back to the time of Charles Darwin. In modern greenhouse, tendrils of cultivation of cucumbers are dispensable, and the coiling of tendrils actually requires additional energy investment from the cucumber plants and more labor from farmers in practice. Cucumber without tendrils is becoming the new breeding objective for plant architecture of cucumber. Read more >>

The AC5 Protein Encoded by Mungbean Yellow Mosaic India Virus is a Pathogenicity Determinant that Suppresses RNA Silencing-based Antiviral Defenses

The molecular features of begomovirus genomes have been thoroughly characterized, with the functions of most genes being well understood. Although an increasing number of begomoviruses have been annotated to contain an AC5/C5 ORF, little is known regarding its function during virus infection. Recently, the scientist in the Institute of Plant Protection has made a great progress in research on the function of the AC5 protein. the related research results have been published in New Phytologist.
It is generally accepted that begomoviruses in the family Geminiviridae encode four proteins (from AC1/C1 to AC4/C4) using the complementary-sense DNA as template. Although AC5/C5 coding sequences are increasingly annotated in databases for many begomoviruses, the evolutionary relationships and functions of this putative protein in viral infection are obscure. In this study, the scientists in IPP-CAAS demonstrated several important functions of the AC5 protein of a bipartite begomovirus, Mungbean yellow mosaic India virus (MYMIV). Read more >>

Scientists Reveal VILLIN2 as a Master Builder in Rice

Cytoskeleton is an important system in supporting the specialized cell morphology of a given organ. The plant cytoskeleton, mainly composed of microtubules and microfilaments (MFs), plays a critical role in regulating nearly all cellular activities, such as intracellular transport of organelles and vesicles, mitotic and meiotic cell division, and cell growth. However, the role of MFs in directed organogenesis and its underlying mechanism remain largely elusive, especially in crop plants. Recently, the Innovation Team of Crop Functional Genomics from Institute of Crop Science (ICS) of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) has made a progress in identifying genetic linkage between MFs, auxin and organ growth.
To investigate the molecular mechanisms governing the assembly of plant architecture in rice, a mutant, designated as villin2 (vln2), was isolated by the team. vln2 displays organ malformations, such as twisted roots and shoots. Microscopy analysis revealed that the twisted mutant phenotype is caused by asymmetrical cell expansion on the opposite sides of a given organ. Read more >>

Researchers Identify a Crucial Virulence Determinant of Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV)

The lab of avian respiratory infectious diseases led by Dr. Liu Shengwang at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute (HVRI) of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) identified the first host modulator of ILTV infection. This finding has been published in the Journal of Virology.
Infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT) is a major respiratory disease of chickens which could cause large economic losses to the poultry industry worldwide annually. Given the side effects of vaccination against ILT, novel strategies for ILT control and therapy are urgently needed. Using genome-wide transcriptome studies in combination with a bioinformatic analysis, Dr. Liu and his colleagues identified proto-oncogene tyrosine-protein kinase SRC (SRC) as an important modulator of ILTV infection. Their further studies revealed that SRC controls the virulence of ILTV through a positive feedback loop with the tyrosine kinase focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Read more >>

International Cooperation Update

CAAS and IRRI Cooperation to Enter a New Stage

On October 14, 2015, Prof. Li Jiayang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and President of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences(CAAS), received Dr. Robert S. Zeigler,Director General of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The two sides exchanged ideas to further strengthen the technology collaboration in rice research. Dr. Wu Kongming, Vice President of CAAS attended the meeting.
Li highly valued IRRI’s important role in global rice research and also the collaborative achievements between the two sides. He noted that as the first CGIAR center to have established cooperation with CAAS, IRRI has made tremendous efforts in pushing forward Chinese rice research and training Chinese professionals. IRRI also provided a large quantity of high quality rice germplasms, which have greatly promoted new rice variety breeding and utilization in China. Read more >>

CAAS Explores Strategic Cooperation with Australia and New Zealand

CAAS high level delegation led by its Vice President Dr. Wang Hanzhong paid visits to five agricultural research institutions in Australia and New Zealand from November 8 to 15, 2015. This weeklong trip builds and furthers the strategic partnership with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research (PFR), CAAS’s counterpart institutions in Australia and New Zealand.
Dr. Wang Han Zhong and Dr. John Manners, Director of CSIRO Agriculture had an in-depth conversation about exploring the converging points between CAAS’s Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP) and CSIRO’s Agriculture Flagship, which have gained more weight among all flagship programs in a recent structural reform of CSIRO. The two sides enter into a strategic agreement emphasizing collaboration in crop improvement, sustainable agricultural farming system, agricultural development and climate change, digital agriculture and animal science. Read more >>

Romanian Agricultural Delegation Visited CAAS

On Oct. 22, 2015, Dr. Li Jinxiang, Vice President of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences met with the delegation led by Gheorghe Sin, the president of Romanian Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences. Both sides exchanged views on deepening cooperation in agricultural research. Li Jinxiang updated the latest development of CAAS and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Programme. He noted that Romanian Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences and CAAS had good cooperative foundation and also the potentials in strengthening collaborations in such fields as biotechnology, crop breeding, horticulture, soil sciences, plant protection, facility agriculture, veterinary, bee products and so on. Therefore, the two sides should find their matching point and deepen the cooperation accordingly. Read more >>

Western Australian Higher education mission visits CAAS

On September 29 2015, Dr. Wu Kongming, Vice President of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) met with the Western Australian Higher Education Mission led by Hon. Peter Collier, Minister for Education, Aboriginal Affairs and Electoral Affairs of Western Australia. Both sides have exchanged views on deepening technological and educational cooperation in agriculture and unveiled the “China-Australian Joint Center for the Prevention and Management of Exotic Invasive Species”, which was established in early June this year between Murdoch University and the Institute of Plant Protection of CAAS.
Wu Kongming briefly introduced agricultural production, extension and training for farmers in China. He further explained that China, as a developing country with a large population and limited arable land and water resources, is in dire need to boost agricultural production and tackle environmental issues such as non-point pollution through agricultural science and technology innovation. Western China and Western Australia share similar topographies and climate conditions. Read more >>


20th Anniversary: CAAS-CABI Partnership

The symposium of 20 Years of Strategic Collaboration between China and CABI was held in Beijing on 25th November 2015. The symposium was jointly sponsored by the International Cooperation Department of Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and CABI International (CABI), and organized by the Department of International Cooperation of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), MOA – CABI Joint Laboratory for Bio-safety and CABI East Asia Centre. Qu Dongyu, Vice Minister of MOA and Trevor Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CABI, delivered opening speeches in the opening ceremony chaired by Wu Kongming, Vice President of CAAS.
Vice Minister Qu said that the Chinese government has always attached great importance in international cooperation and development, promoting agricultural modernization and actively improving the level of China’s agricultural science and technology development. Read more >>


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