Li Zhensheng (geneticist)

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Li Zhensheng
Born (1931-02-25)February 25, 1931
Zibo, Shandong, China
Nationality China
Known for wheat breeding through distant hybridization
Awards State Preeminent Science and Technology Award (2006)
Scientific career
Fields Genetics
Influences enhancing agricultural productivity and food security in China

Li Zhensheng (Chinese: 李振声; Pinyin: Lǐ Zhènshēng; born February 25, 1931) is a Chinese geneticist. He mainly focuses on genetics of wheat. He is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Mr. Li was born in Zibo, Shandong. In 1951, he graduated from Shandong Agricultural University and worked in Yangling (Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences, now Northwest A&F University) for over 30 years.

In an interview, he said that three scientists influenced him very much, they are Hua Luogeng (for telling him how to learn), Qian Sanqiang (how to do research) and Ai Siqi (Historical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism).[1]


In Li's scientific career, he has made three notable contributions to wheat genetics and breeding:[2]

  • The series of new wheat cultivars (Xiaoyan 4, 5, 6, 54 and 81)

The wheat cultivars have greatly enhanced productivity of wheat. Among them, Xiaoyan 6 has been widely grown in China.

  • Research on wheat chromosome engineering system

This has enabled him to propose a creative methodology for producing wheat substitution lines through nullisomic backcrossing.

  • The breeding and application of wheat varieties with high nutrient efficiency

This kind of breeding needs less natural resources, and it protects the environment which is good for the sustainable development in Chinese agriculture.

Awards and Honors[3][edit]

  • In 1983, First-class Prize of Sci-tech Advance Award by the People's Government of Shanxi province of China
  • In 1985, First-class Prize of National Invention by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China
  • In 1988, Tan Kah Kee Prize in Agricultural Science by Tan Kah Kee Foundation
  • In 1990, Fellow, the Third World Academy of Sciences
  • In 1978, National Scientific Conference Prize
  • In 1979, National Model Worker
  • In 1993, Academician, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • In 1995, Ho Leung Ho Lee Sci-tech Prize in Agricultural Science, awarded by Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation in Hong Kong
  • In 2005, China Agriculture Elite Award by the Ministry of Agriculture of China
  • In 2006, Li won the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award of China.