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space oddity seeds

Space oddity seeds

On Jan 17, 2020, AFinSD from San Diego, CA wrote:

We always make a point of taking pictures of it; it’s colors are just spectacular!

Gardeners’ Notes:

Lake Arthur, Louisiana

Note courtesy of Charles Black, hybridizer (Posted with permission, on his behalf)

On Feb 22, 2009, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Space oddity seeds

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Space Odyssey (Death Star x Alien Apparition).

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Strains with desirable traits and promising market potential will be finally chosen and then receive further tests and evaluation. Before they are widely used, space seeds must pass examinations by crop-variety approval committees.

Through space breeding, scientists intend to produce high-yield, disease-resistant plant varieties. So far, they have obtained several desirable traits through space breeding. For example, the eggplants grown from seeds taken into space have reached remarkable sizes. One such eggplant weighed more than 2 kg, and was the size of a basketball.

Liu does not think that space breeding should cause safety concerns. “We have conducted strict testing on seeds that have returned from space, and have not found any increase in their radioactivity,” Liu said.

It is not just seeds of this endangered plant species that have been fortunate enough to make space trips. In fact, the seeds of produce including rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables have all made journeys into the space.

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Space breeding is by no means as easy as sending seeds into space and retrieving them. “The seeds’ space journey is only the beginning of the space breeding process. More complicated and important work is done in the fields after space seeds return to the Earth,” Liu said.

SPACE CALABASHES: A farmer in Tianshui Agricultural New Technology Demonstration Garden of west China’s Gansu Province takes care of calabashes, the seeds of which have made flights into space (ZHOU WENTAO)

Nonetheless, some people worry about the safety of space-bred varieties. Liu explained that space breeding does not introduce any foreign genes, and is no different from natural breeding, except that it speeds up the natural process of biological mutation by means of factors in the space environment, such as strong radiation.