Yuan Longping

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Yuan Longping
Yuan Longping in 1962.jpg
Yuan Longping in 1962
Native name 袁隆平
Born (1930-09-07) September 7, 1930 (age 84)
Beijing
Residence Changsha, Hunan
Nationality Chinese
Education High School Affiliated to Nanjing Normal University
Alma mater Southwest University
Occupation agricultural scientist
Years active 1960 - present
Organization Hunan Agricultural University
Known for hybrid rice
Spouse(s) Deng Zhe (m. 1964)
Children Yuan Ding'an
Yuan Dingjiang
Parents Yuan Xinglie
Hua Jing
Awards State Preeminent Science and Technology Award
2001
Wolf Prize in Agriculture
2004
World Food Prize
2004
Confucius Peace Prize
2012
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Yuan.
Yuan Longping
Traditional Chinese 袁隆平
Simplified Chinese 袁隆平

Yuan Longping (Chinese: 袁隆平; pinyin: Yuán Lóngpíng; born September 7, 1930) is a Chinese agricultural scientist and educator, known for developing the first hybrid rice varieties in the 1970s.

Hybrid rice has since been grown in dozens of countries in Africa, America, and Asia—providing a robust food source in high famine risk areas. For his contributions, Yuan is sometimes called "The Father of Hybrid Rice" by the Chinese media.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Yuan was born in Beijing, China in 1930. In an era of wars, he moved with his family and attended school in many places during his childhood and youth, including Hunan, Chongqing, Hankou and Nanjing.

He graduated from the Southwest Agriculture Institute in 1953 and began his teaching career at an agriculture school in Anjiang, Hunan Province.

He came up with an idea for hybridizing rice in the 1960s, when a series of natural disasters and inappropriate policies (the Great Leap Forward) had plunged China into an unprecedented famine that caused many deaths.

Since then, Yuan has devoted himself to the research and development of a better rice breed. In 1964, he happened to find a natural hybrid rice plant that had obvious advantages over others. Greatly encouraged, he began to study the elements of this particular type.

The biggest problem by then, was having no known method to reproduce hybrid rice in mass quantities, and that was what Yuan set out to solve. In 1964, Yuan created his theory of using the probably-existing naturally-mutated male-sterile rice individuals for the creation of reproductive hybrid rice species, and in two years he managed to find a few individuals of such male-sterile rice that he predicted could be used for his research. Subsequent experiments proved his theory feasible, which was his most important contribution on hybrid rice.

Yuan Longping in 1953 in Southwest University. Yuan in the back row, left three.

Yuan went on to solve more following problems. The first experimental hybrid rice species cultivated didn't show any significant advantage over common ones, so Yuan suggested crossbreeding rice with its further relative: the wild rice. In 1970, he found an important species of wild rice that he needed for the creation of high-yield hybrid rice species. In 1973, in cooperation with others, he was finally able to establish a complete process of creating and reproducing high-yield hybrid rice species.

The next year they successfully cultivated a type of hybrid rice species which had great advantages. It yielded 20 percent more per unit than that of common ones, putting China in the lead worldwide in rice production. For this achievement, he was dubbed the "Father of Hybrid Rice."

At present, as many as 50 percent of China's total rice fields grow Yuan Longping's hybrid rice species and yield 60 percent of the rice production in China. Due to Yuan's hard work, China's total rice output rose from 5.69 billion tons in 1950 to 19.47 billion tons last year; about 300 billion kilograms more have been produced over the last twenty years. The annual yield increase is enough to feed 60 million people.

The "Super Rice" Yuan is now working on has yields 30 percent higher than those of common rice. A record yield of 17,055 kilograms per hectare was registered in Yongsheng County in Yunnan Province in 1999.

In January 2014, Yuan said in an interview that genetically modified food is the future direction of food and that he had been working on genetic modification of rice.

Personal Life[edit]

Yuan married his student Deng Zhe (邓哲) in 1964,[3][4] they have two children, Yuan Ding'an (袁定安) and Yuan Dingjiang (袁定江).[5]

Contributions[edit]

In 1979, his technique for hybrid rice was introduced into the United States, the first case of intellectual property rights transfer in the history of the People's Republic of China.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization 1991 statistics show that 20 percent of the world's rice output came from 10 percent of the world's rice fields that grow hybrid rice.

Honors and awards[edit]

Four asteroids and a college in China have been named after him.

Yuan won the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award of China in 2000, the Wolf Prize in Agriculture and the World Food Prize in 2004.

He is currently the Director-General of the China National Hybrid Rice R&D Center and has been appointed as Professor at Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2006) and the 2006 CPPCC.

Yuan worked as the chief consultant for the FAO in 1991.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ worldfoodprize
  2. ^ cctv
  3. ^ "袁隆平的“师生恋”:对妻子的爱感动上苍" (in Chinese). 163.com. Retrieved 2008. 
  4. ^ "袁隆平40年前与妻子闪婚 认为做老百姓最幸福" (in Chinese). Sina. Retrieved 2010. "袁隆平也是邓则的安慰。1971年,林彪叛逃坠机之后,全国上下开始了声讨“林贼”的运动。在湖南方言中,“贼”和“则”的发音恰好相同,这样一来,妻子“邓则”的名字听起来就成了“邓贼”。出于保护妻子的目的,袁隆平为她改名为“邓哲”,为了不让妻子尴尬,他还向妻子解释:“我可不愿意你作贼啊!”现在因为乘坐飞机多的缘故,才用回了“邓则”这个名字。" 
  5. ^ "袁隆平的神坛与江湖 送儿子去港专攻转基因" (in Chinese). 163.com. Retrieved 2014. "袁隆平的大儿子袁定安是“安徽袁氏农业科技发展有限公司”的董事长,二儿子袁定江是隆平高科的副董事长、常务副总裁,他也正是隆平高科股票和房地产投资的操盘者。翻开隆平高科历年业绩报告发现,对于公司净利润贡献最多的就是房地产方面的权益性投资收益。2009年时,曾有媒体质疑隆平高科大股东涉嫌利益输送。" 

Literature[edit]

  • The man who puts an end to hunger: Yuan Longping, “Father of Hybrid Rice”. Foreign Languages Press, Beijing 2007, ISBN 978-7-119-05109-3.

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Catherine Bertini
World Food Prize
2004
Succeeded by
Modadugu Vijay Gupta