June30,2016 | Vol. 2

Headline

The 5th Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists Successully Held in Xi’an

On May 30-31, the 5th Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) was held in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province of China, which was sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and co-organized by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Agriculture of Shaanxi province. Vice Minister of Agriculture, President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Li Jiayang, and Vice Governor of Shaanxi Province, Mr. Feng Xinzhu, attended the opening ceremony and delivered welcome speeches. Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Wu Kongming chaired the meeting. Over 100 Representatives from 18 G20 member countries, 4 invited countries and 9 International Organizations participated in the meeting. The 5th MACS was the first event of the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting’s series meetings as China’s presidency in 2016.
In his speech, Li Jiayang pointed out that the food is the survival of mankind, agriculture is the foundation of economic development. Agricultural science and technology has played a vital role in agricultural Read more >>

European Commission Delegation visited CAAS

On April 19, 2016, Li Jiayang, Vice Minister of Agriculture, President of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences met with the delegation led by Mr. Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission.
Li Jiayang positively remarked the fruitful outcomes achieved from the long-time cooperation between CAAS and EU member states. He pointed out that the EU-CAAS partnership became more and more consolidated since the signature of the letter of intent on research and innovation between CAAS and European Commission. He also emphasized that there is a big potential in the agricultural research and innovation between CAAS and European countries, and both sides have a lot of common interests in this area. Li Jiayang suggested that based on the previous excellent cooperation, both sides should enhance the construction of joint labs/centers and carry out the concrete collaborations in the fields of biotechnology, information technology, sustainable agriculture. He also suggested that the role of EU-China Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology Task Force should be continued to be strengthened Read more >>

Research Update

Versatile Tool for Genome Editing of Targeted Plant Gene Replacement Has Been Developed

Precision DNA/gene replacement is a promising genome-editing tool that is highly desirable for molecular engineering and breeding by design in plants. Although the CRISPR/Cas9 system works well as a tool for gene knockout, gene replacement was much more challenge owing to the DNA repair donor presented. Besides, DNA/gene replacement is considerably more attractive for engineering plant genomes because more subtle DNA sequence modifications can be achieved, including DNA correction, targeted knock-in or replacement, or any type of desired mutation.
Recently, researches from Institute of Crop Science (ICS), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) reported their works on precisely targeted gene replacement efforts entitled “An alternative strategy for targeted gene replacement in plants using a dual-sgRNA/Cas9 design” on April 2nd ,2016 on Scientific Reports, one of sister journals of Nature Publishing Group. They successfully established a gene deletion/replacement system in stably transformed plants that can potentially be utilized to introduce genes of interest for targeted crop improvement.Read more >>

The Novel Tobacco RING E3 Ligase NtRFP1 Mediates Ubiquitination and Proteasomal Degradation of a Geminivirus-encoded βC1

Recently, researchers at State Key Laboratory of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection of CAAS have published a research paper on Molecular Plant about new findings of the novel tobacco RING E3 ligase NtRFP1-mediated defense against geminivirus-encoded βC1, a pathogenicity determinant encoded by the Tomato yellow leaf curl China virus associated betasatellite.
Geminiviruses are a group of circular, single-stranded DNA viruses that infect a broad variety of plants and cause considerable loss in many economically important crops worldwide. Geminiviruses are obligate molecular parasites that encode relatively few proteins and are exclusively dependent on host resources for multiplication and movement. To combat attack, plant hosts have evolved diverse innate defense mechanisms to defend against virus invasion and attenuate development of disease symptoms. Therefore, elucidation of host-geminivirus interactions will advance our understanding of virulence functions, as well as surveillance mechanisms that have evolved to protect plants from infection.Read more >>

Invasion and Management of Agricultural Alien Insects in China

The highly diverse biogeography of China presents opportunities for many invasive alien insects. However, physical and climate barriers sometimes prevent locally occurring species from spreading. China has 560 confirmed invasive alien species; 125 species are insect pests, and 92 species damage the agricultural ecosystem. The estimated annual economic loss due to alien invasive species is more than $18.9 billion.
Recently, researchers at State Key Laboratory of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant Protection of CAAS have published a review paper on Annual Review of Entomology about the invasion and management of agricultural alien insects in China. In this review, the new pathways for invasive insects was introduced and a profile of insect invasions in China by insect family, source, time sequence, and geography was drawn. The list of the invasive alien insect pests (IAIPs) in China was available.The invasiveness of IAIPs from the viewpoint of inherent superiority and mutualist facilitation and the invasibility of agricultural ecosystems from the viewpoint of cropping system complexity, land usage patterns, and geographic and climate barriers was reviewed. Read more >>

Range of CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing is Expanded in Rice

The CRISPR/Cas9 system has emerged as a versatile molecular tool for genome editing in various organisms, including plants. In this system, the specificity of Cas9-directed DNA cleavage strictly requires the presence of a chimeric single guide RNA (sgRNA) and a short trinucleotide proto spacer adjacent motif (PAM) in the genome.
To date, the Cas9 used in plants has only been shown to recognize PAM sequences in the canonical form NGG. As such, the range of sequences for genome editing in plants is limited to sites containing an NGG motif. Recent work has revealed that Cas9 can be modified to recognize alternative PAM sequences in zebrafish and human cells. However, the targeting range limitations in plants have yet to be resolved.
Recently, researchers from China National Rice Research Institute (CNRRI) of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) obtained that two modified SpCas9 variants showed robust genome editing activities at endogenous rice target sites harboring either an NGA or an NGCG PAM, which significantly broadened the range of genome editing. They also detected off-target events in transgenic plants. These results suggest that the specificities of the variants are comparable to that of wild-type Cas9. Read more >>

Molecular Characterization of S. japonicum Exosome-like Vesicles Reveals Their Regulatory Roles in Parasite-host Interactions

Recently, the animal schistosomasis innovation research group led by Prof. Guofeng Cheng at Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) found that S. japonicum exosome-like vesicles (S. japonicum EVs) are involved in the regulation of parasite-host interactions. This finding was published in the Scientific Reports in May 2016.
Secreted extracellular vesicles play an important role in pathogen-host interactions. Increased knowledge of schistosome extracellular vesicles could provide insights into schistosome-host interactions and enable the development of novel intervention strategies to inhibit parasitic processes and lessen disease transmission. In this study, researchers report on the biochemical characterization of S. japonicum EVs by using LC-MS/MS and small RNA sequencing. A total of 403 proteins were identified in S. japonicum EVs, and bioinformatics analyses indicated that these proteins were mainly involved in binding, catalytic activity, and translation regulatory activity. Further studies demonstrated that mammalian cells could internalize S. japonicum EVs and transfer their cargo miRNAs to recipient cells. Additionally, a specific miRNA, likely originating from a final host, ocu-miR-191-5p, is identified in S. japonicum EVs. Read more >>

International Cooperation Update

ATaiLing, the First Plant Immune Protein Pesticide in China Opened Up the International Market

Recently, IPP signed a cooperation agreement for overseas exclusive agency of ATaiLing, the first plant immune protein pesticide in China, with Arysta LifeScience (ALS) at its’ headquarters in USA. Mr. Wen Xue, the Deputy Director General of IPP of CAAS, Ms. Paula, the Manager for Global Market, and Mr. Georges, the Chief Technology Officer, Arysta LifeScience, signed the agreement.
ATaiLing is a protein biological pesticide which can induce plant immunity. Aimed at the characteristics of plant disease occurrence and the resistance mechanisms of plants, Dr. Qiu Dewen, the Deputy Director General of IPP, and his team obtained the product after decades' devoted study. ATaiLing has obtained national patent and pesticide registration. ATaiLing can enhance plant immunity, regulate the growth of plants, and control diseases caused by viruses, fungi, bacteria and even physiological diseases. Read more >>

CAAS President LI Jiayang meets with Deputy Director General of FAO

On April 19, 2016, Prof. LI Jiayang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and President of CAAS, met with Dr. Daniel Gustafson, Deputy Director General of FAO. Both parties exchanged views on further promoting partnership under the framework of “South-South Cooperation”(SSC)and “One belt and one road” initiative. CAAS Vice President Prof. WU Kongming was present at the meeting.
Li briefed FAO guests on CAAS research priorities, the Agriculture Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP), postgraduates’ education, talent recruiting, etc. Li also pointed out that CAAS has always been devoting to cooperating with other countries as well as international organizations in the field of Agriculture S&T innovation, and is ready to share the advanced experience with other developing countries. CAAS appreciates the positive results achieved by continuing collaboration between both parties, and would like to further work together with FAO to summarize the experience while vision the future. Read more >>

Korean Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Visited CAAS

On April 8, Li Jinxiang, vice president of CAAS met with Lee DongPhil, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of Republic of Korea. Both sides exchanged ideas on furthering agricultural technology cooperation.
Li Jinxiang spoke highly of the long, fruitful and broad cooperation between CAAS, Rural Development Administration, other agricultural institutions of Korea in such areas as crop varieties breeding, plant protection, animal husbandry, biological prevention and control, horticulture, soil fertilizers and so on. Li stressed that there is great potential for deepening bilateral cooperation in the prevention and control technology of avian influenza, foot-and-mouth disease and other animal diseases that the Korean side concerned. CAAS has made remarkable progress in dealing with these epidemic diseases and is willing to share technologies with Korean counterparts, so as to enhance the animal husbandry development of both countries in joint efforts. Read more >>

Li Jiayang Meets with the Australian Delegation of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

On May 12, Dr. Li Jiayang, Vice Minister of Agriculture, President of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences met with the delegation of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization led by Dr. John Manners, Director of CSIRO Agriculture Business Unit.
Dr. Li Jiayang pointed out that CSIRO owns leading technologies in animal husbandry, crop breeding and intelligent agriculture. CAAS values the cooperation with CSIRO through ASTIP and Flagship Projects of CSIRO. Special focus should be put on the two priority areas, that are oilcrops processing & high value of utilization and sustainable agricultural technology, on the basis of which to further expand areas of cooperation. Read more >>

CAAS and Wageningen UR Co-establish the Sino-Dutch Livestock Waste Recycling Center

On June 1,the inauguration ceremony of Sino-Dutch Livestock Waste Recycling Center was held in Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) headquarters. Vice President Li Jinxiang and Martin Scholten, General Director of the Wageningen UR Animal Sciences Group signed the MOU on behalf of respective institution. The ceremony was chaired by Prof. Zhang Yanqing, Director General of Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture (IEDA), CAAS and attended by more than 60 representatives from government, research institute, universities and private sector of both nations.
Vice President Li Jinxiang pointed out that in the modern transition of husbandry industry in China, large scale farms have developed rapidly. Livestock manure has become the main source of diffused agricultural pollution and brought great challenge to the sustainable development of husbandry industry. The achievements of Dutch husbandry industry is very impressive,especially in the chain management covering from manure storage, transportation, harmless treatment and commercial utilization. Read more >>

Events

Prof. Chen Minpeng elected as Co-Chair of the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee

Prof. Chen Minpeng from the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture (IEDA), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences(CAAS)was recently elected as the Co-Chair of the ninth meeting of Adaptation Committee, as nominated by the all non-annex I members. Adaptation Committee is a constituted body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which aims to promote the implementation of enhanced adaptation action in a coherent manner under the Convention by providing technical support and guidance to the Parties. Read more >>

AEPI Inaugurates New Platform to Demonstrate Sino-Finland Agricultural S&T Cooperation Achievements

On 14 June 2016, the Base for Demonstrating Sino-Finland S&T Cooperation Achievements on Monitoring and Controlling Technology for Agricultural Source Pollutions was inaugurated in Dali Comprehensive Experimental Station of Agro-Environmental Protection Institute (AEPI),Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). Mr. Veli-Pekka Talvela, Director General of Department of International Cooperation , Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Prof. Ren Tianzhi, Director General of AEPI and representatives from Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Pellon Group Ltd, Human Resources Development Center of Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), CAAS attended the inauguration ceremony. Read more >>