Profile: Yuan Longping, Father of Hybrid Rice

Yuan Longping
BornSeptember 7, 1930 (age 89)
Beijing, China
EducationHigh School Affiliated to Nanjing Normal University
Alma materSouthwest Agricultural College
Years active1960-present
OrganizationHunan Agricultural University
Known forHybrid rice
Spouse(s)Deng Zhe (m. 1964)
AwardsState Preeminent Science and Technology Award
Wolf Prize in Agriculture
World Food Prize
Confucius Peace Prize
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese袁隆平
Simplified Chinese袁隆平

Yuan Longping (Chinese: 袁隆平; born September 7, 1930) is a Chinese agronomist, 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 areas with a high risk of famine. For his contributions, Yuan is always called the “Father of Hybrid Rice” by the Chinese media.[1][2]



Yuan was born in Beijing in 1930. His ancestral home is in De’an CountyJiujiangJiangxi Province. During the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War, he moved with his family and attended school in many places, including HunanChongqingHankou and Nanjing.

He graduated from Southwest Agricultural College (now part of Southwest University) in 1953 and began his teaching career at an agriculture school in Anjiang, Hunan Province. He married one of his students, Deng Ze (邓则) in 1964,[3][4] they have two children, Yuan Ding’an (袁定安) and Yuan Dingjiang (袁定江).[5]

He came up with an idea for hybridizing rice in the 1960s when a series of natural disasters and harmful political policies (such as the Great Leap Forward) had plunged China into an unprecedented famine that caused the deaths of millions of Chinese citizens.

Since then, Yuan has devoted himself to the research and development of a better rice breed. In 1964, he happened to find a natural rice plant for use in his hybridization experiments that had obvious advantages over other species. Greatly encouraged, he began to study the elements of this particular breed.

The biggest problem by then was having no known method to reproduce hybrid rice in mass quantities, and that was the problem that Yuan set out to solve. In 1964, Yuan created his theory of using a hypothetical naturally-mutated male-sterile strain of rice that he predicted most probably existed for the creation of a new reproductive hybrid rice species, and in two years’ time he managed to successfully find a few individuals of such a mutated male-sterile rice that he could use for his research. Subsequent experiments proved his original theory feasible, making that theory his most important contribution to hybrid rice.

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

Yuan went on to solve more problems than followed from the first. The first experimental hybrid rice species that were cultivated didn’t show any significant advantage over commonly grown species, so Yuan suggested crossbreeding rice with a more distant relative: the wild rice. In 1970, he found a particularly important species of wild rice that he ended up using for the creation of a high-yield hybrid rice species.[citation needed] In 1973, in cooperation with others, he was finally able to establish a complete process for creating and reproducing this high-yield hybrid rice species.

The next year they successfully cultivated a hybrid rice species which had great advantages over conventionally grown rice. It yielded 20 percent more per unit than that of common rice breeds, putting China in the lead worldwide in rice production. For this achievement, Yuan Longping was dubbed the “Father of Hybrid Rice.”[6]

At present, as much as 50 percent of China’s total number of rice paddies grow Yuan Longping’s hybrid rice species and these hybrid rice paddies yield 60 percent of the total rice production in China.[6] Due to Yuan’s hard work, China’s total rice output rose from 56.9 million tons in 1950 to 194.7 million tons in 2017; about 300 billion kilograms of rice has been produced over the last twenty years, compared to the estimated amount that would have been produced without the hybrid rice species. The annual yield increase is enough to feed 60 million additional people.[7]

The “Super Rice” Yuan is currently working on improving has shown a 30 percent higher yield, compared to common rice, with a record yield of 17,055 kilograms per hectare being registered in Yongsheng County in Yunnan Province in 1999.[7]

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.[8]

Early stages of hybrid rice experiments


As recently as the 1950s, two separate theories of heredity were taught in China. One theory was from Gregor Mendel and Thomas Hunt Morgan and was based on the concept of genes and alleles. The other theory was from Soviet Union scientists Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin and Trofim Lysenko which stated that organisms would change over the course of their lives to adapt to environmental changes they experienced and their offspring would then inherit the changes. At the time, China was a communist country, and the government’s official stance on scientific theories was one of “leaning towards the Soviet side”, and any ideology from the Soviet Union was deemed to be the only truth while everything else would be seen as being invalid. Yuan, as an agricultural student at Southwest University, remained skeptical on both theories and started his own experiments to try and come up with his own conclusions.

His first experiment was on the sweet potato. Following Michurin’s theory, he grafted Ipomoea alba (a kind of flower with high Photosynthesis rate and high efficiency in starch production) on to sweet potatoes. Those sweet potatoes grew a lot bigger than the sweet potatoes he hadn’t grafted the alba on to, with the biggest one reaching almost 8kg. However, when he bred these grafted sweet potatoes and planted them for the second generation, the sweet potatoes produced were still normal sweet potatoes with their original leaves, and the alba flower produced by the seeds of the grafted alba/potato hybrid did not grow sweet potatoes. He continued with similar grafting experiments on other plants, but none of the hybridized plants produced offspring with any of the beneficial traits that had been grafted into their parents, which was a complete contradiction of Michurin’s theory. In Yuan’s conclusions to his experiments, he wrote; “I had learned some background of Mendel and Morgan’s theory, and I knew from journal papers that it was proven by experiments and real agricultural applications, such as seedless watermelon. I desired to read more and learn more, but I can only do it secretly.”[9]


In 1959 China experienced the Great Chinese Famine. Yuan as an agricultural scientist could do little to greatly help people around him in Hunan province. “There was nothing in the field because hungry people took away all the edible things they can find. They eat grass, seeds, Fern roots, or even white clay. At the very extreme.”[citation] Yuan considered applying the inheritance rules onto sweet potatoes and wheat since their fast rate of growth made them the practical solutions for the famine. However, he realized that in Southern China sweet potato was never a part of the daily diet and wheat didn’t grow well in that area. Therefore, he turned his mind to rice.


Back in 1906, geneticist George Harrison Shull did experiments on the hybrid maize. He observed that inbreeding reduced vigor and production among the offspring but crossbreeding did the opposite. Those experiments proved the concept of Heterosis.[10] In the 1950s, geneticist J. C. Stephens and few others utilized the hybrid of two breeds found in Africa and created the high production seeds for sorghum.[11] Those results were inspiring for Yuan. However, maize and sorghum achieve pollination mainly through cross-pollination, while rice is a self-pollinating plant, which would make any crossbreeding attempts difficult, for obvious reasons. In Edmund Ware Sinnott‘s book Principles of Genetics[12], it clearly stated that self-pollinating plants, like wheat and rice, experienced long-term selection both by nature and by human. Therefore, the traits that were inferior were all excluded, and the remaining traits are all superior. He speculated that there would be no advantage in doing cross-breeding for rice. And the nature of self-pollinating make it hard to do cross breed experiments on rice on a large scale.[12]


In 1979, his technique for hybrid rice was introduced into the United States, making it 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

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[6]

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.[13] 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.[13]

Yuan worked as the chief consultant for the FAO in 1991.[13]

source, wikipedia.


据中新社悉尼2月26日电 题:海外看战“疫”:中国万众一心抗“疫”值得点赞
  中新社记者 陶社兰


  据中新社北京2月26日电 针对民进党蔡其昌等人近日鼓吹以所谓“中华民国台湾”调整两岸论述等谬论,国台办发言人朱凤莲26日应询表示,这些“台独”言论暴露了岛内某些人推动“渐进台独”、升高两岸敌意对抗的险恶用心。这种伎俩的实质是以损害台湾同胞的利益福祉来图利其一党之私,完全是对广大台湾同胞和国际舆论的欺骗。


 据中新社北京2月26日电 (记者 张蔚然)统筹推进新冠肺炎疫情防控和经济社会发展工作部署会议近日在北京召开。中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平在会上就中共干部队伍在抗疫一线表现所作评价引起广泛关注。


  据中新社乌鲁木齐2月26日电 (孙亭文 莫延兰)新冠肺炎疫情当下,在新疆天山南北的多个油气田“迎难而上”,防“疫”、生产两不误。目前,中国石油驻新疆三大油气田新疆油田、塔里木油田、吐哈油田,中国石化驻新疆的西北油田等油气生产企业均按计划正常生产,日产原油7.65万吨,天然气9100万立方米,石油天然气可满足疆内自用和外送需求。

综合消息:除湖北外无新增死亡病例 49名民警辅警因公牺牲

  据中新社北京2月26日电 中国国家卫健委26日通报,25日全国新增确诊病例406例(湖北401例),新增死亡病例52例(湖北52例),新增治愈出院病例2422例。

  除湖北外,全国新增确诊病例5例 无新增死亡病例


  49名民警、辅警因公牺牲 中国依法保障疫情防控期间复工复产


  多地加强入境健康管理 严防疫情输入风险


  疫情冲击中国体育行业 北京冬奥会筹备未受更多影响



  据中新社北京2月26日电    中共中央政治局常务委员会2月26日召开会议,听取中央应对新型冠状病毒感染肺炎疫情工作领导小组汇报,分析当前疫情形势,研究部署近期防控重点工作。中共中央总书记习近平主持会议并发表重要讲话。


  据中新社广州2月26日电 (记者 王华)广州市政协委员、广州市第八人民医院原院长尹炽标,26日在接受媒体采访时分析了新冠肺炎患者治愈出院后出现“复阳”的四种因素,并提出可考虑修改出院标准。


 据 中新社北京2月26日电 题:习近平13次国际通话中的三大关键词
  作者 黄钰钦 李京泽









北欧绿色邮报网斯德哥尔摩报道:瑞典新的Curt Bergfors基金会设立了全球最大的食品大奖。
瑞典著名的酒店企业家柯特·伯格福斯(Curt Bergfors)说:“这些都是我们所有人都需要应对的挑战。” “我们的食物系统已经损坏,地球正在生病。我们都是问题的一部分,我们都必须努力成为解决方案的一部分。我想通过基金会和这些奖项做出贡献。”
提名将由领先的科学家,政策制定者和企业家组成的国际评审团进行评估。陪审团由波茨坦气候影响研究所执行董事JohanRockström和斯德哥尔摩大学斯德哥尔摩弹性中心主任Line Gordon主持。
“有可能为100亿人提供健康的饮食,同时维持蓬勃发展的生物圈。我们希望“食物星球奖”能够迅速扩展最重要的解决方案,” Line Gordon说。
Curt Bergfors基金会成立于2019年,旨在凸显当今食品系统所面临的挑战,并找到新的方法来为未来的食品体系进行重新设计。
“食品必须在整个链条上进行部分重塑,从初级采购到家庭和餐馆的食品和废物管理,”执行董事会董事Lars Peder Hedberg说。
•食物系统是地球上生物大灭绝的主要驱动力。 现在可以通过foodplanetprize.org提交提名过程。除了“食物星球奖”之外,该基金会还将资助一项教授职位,重点是向可持续粮食系统的转型。目的是要在斯德哥尔摩大学斯德哥尔摩弹性中心担任教授职位。   5亿瑞典克朗的创始资本来自伯格福斯先生的私人资产。正在考虑总额不超过10亿瑞典克朗的额外资金。 、了解更多信息: 秘书处@ 评审团主席,食物星球奖发言人约翰·罗克斯特罗姆(JohanRockström) 拉特·佩德·赫德伯格(Lars Peder Hedberg),执行董事会董事,库特·伯格福斯基金会发言人 +46 709 7559910

Två priser på 1 miljon dollar i nytt globalt matpris

Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, Feb. 26(Greenpost)–Idag öppnar nomineringen till The Food Planet Prize – världens största pris på matområdet. Syftet är att belöna initiativ som kan ställa om vårt livsmedelssystem och föda en växande världsbefolkning utan att skada vår livsmiljö.

Priserna har instiftats av den nybildade Stiftelsen The Curt Bergfors Foundation, en global satsning

med syfte att förnya vår livsmedelsförsörjning så att den blir långsiktigt hållbar. Stiftelsen kommer årligen att dela ut två priser på vardera 1 miljon dollar, tillsammans kallade The Food Planet Prize. Det ena priset tilldelas en befintlig lösning för ett hållbart matsystem som kan skalas upp globalt. Det andra tilldelas ett nytänkande initiativ som kan bidra till att reformera vår livsmedelsförsörjning i grunden.

”Det här är utmaningar som vi alla behöver ta oss an”, säger Curt Bergfors i sitt enda uttalande i

samband med utlysningen av det nya priset. ”Vår matplanet är trasig. Vi är alla en del av problemet

och vi måste alla försöka bli en del av lösningen. Jag vill bidra genom stiftelsen och The Food Planet


Nomineringarna kommer att utvärderas av en internationell jury bestående av ledande forskare,

beslutsfattare och entreprenörer under ordförandeskap av professor Johan Rockström, Potsdam

Institute for Climate Impact Research, och Line Gordon, chef för Stockholm Resilience Centre vid

Stockholms universitet.

”Det är inte allmänt känt hur stor påverkan vår mat har på klimat, miljö och biologisk mångfald. Vi

behöver en revolution i livsmedelssystemet annars riskerar vi att destabilisera hela vår planet. Det

nya priset är utformat för att hitta lösningarna som kan klara dessa utmaningar”, säger Johan


”Det är fullt möjligt att producera hälsosam mat för 10 miljarder människor, samtidigt som vi värnar

om klimatet och en livskraftig biosfär, men inte som vi gör det idag. Målet är att priset ska hjälpa till

att hitta hållbara lösningar som kan skalas upp snabbt”, säger Line Gordon.

Nominering till Food Planet Prize är nu öppen – och tillgänglig på

Den första prisutdelningen kommer att ske hösten 2020.

Bakgrundsinformation om The Food Planet Challenge:

• Jordens folkmängd uppgår idag till 7,8 miljarder, och ökar årligen med 70 miljoner människor. 2030

beräknas vi vara 8,5 och 2050 närmare 10 miljarder. Med dagens matsystem kommer vi inte att

kunna föda en växande världsbefolkning – eller ens den folkmängd vi har idag – utan att livsmiljön

hotas i grunden.

• Att utrota hunger 2030 är ett av FN:s mål för hållbar utveckling. Idag lider över 800 miljoner

människor av hunger och undernäring. De senaste åren har siffran stigit efter decennier av framsteg,

delvis för att vi blir allt fler, delvis som en följd av klimatförändringar, förlust av biologisk mångfald

och andra försämringar av livsmiljön.

• Livsmedelssystemet bidrar till cirka en fjärdedel av de globala utsläppen av växthusgaser.

• FN:s klimatpanel, med stöd av ledande forskning, har satt ett snävt tidsfönster, 10 till 15 år,

innan klimatförändringarna passerar kritiska trösklar, där hela livsmiljön hotas.

• Vi använder ungefär hälften av planetens tillgängliga markyta för livsmedelsproduktion och cirka

70% av vår sötvattenförbrukning sker i jordbruket.

• Upp emot en miljon arter är på väg att utrotas. Matsystemet är den enskilt största faktorn

bakom denna pågående massutrotning av liv på jorden.

Stiftelsen The Curt Bergfors Foundation bildades i augusti 2019 och har kapitaliserats med medel från

Bergfors privata förmögenhet, per idag med 500 miljoner kronor. Stiftelsen kan komma att tillföras

ytterligare medel upp till en miljard kronor.

Utöver satsningen på The Food Planet Prize kommer stiftelsen att finansiera en professur med

inriktning mot hållbara livsmedelssystem. Avsikten är att professuren ska inrättas vid Stockholms

universitet med verksamheten förlagd till Stockholm Resilience Centre.

För ytterligare information:

Johan Rockström,

Juryordförande och talesman för The Food Planet Prize

Lars Peder Hedberg,

Styrelseledamot och talesman för stiftelsen

Tel: 070-975 99 10

Two new $1-million food prizes for innovation and sustainability announced in Stockholm

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM. The world’s largest prize in the food arena has been established by the new Curt Bergfors Foundation in Sweden.  

The foundation will award two $1-million prizes –  the Food Planet Prize awards – annually. One prize will be awarded to an existing scalable solution for sustainable foods. The second will be awarded for innovative initiatives that could transform the global food sector.  

“These are challenges that we all need to engage in,” says Curt Bergfors, a renowned hospitality entrepreneur in Sweden. “Our food system is broken, and the planet is ailing. We are all part of the problem, and we must all try to be part of the solution. I want to contribute through the foundation and these awards”. 

Nominations for The Food Planet Prize are now open. The first prizes will be awarded later in 2020.  

The nominations will be evaluated by an international jury of leading scientists, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. The jury is chaired by Johan Rockström, executive director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Line Gordon, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.  

“We need a food-system revolution or risk destabilizing our planet. The new Food Planet Prize is designed to contribute to this goal,” says Johan Rockström.  

“It is possible to feed 10 billion people a healthy diet, while maintaining a thriving biosphere. We want the Food Planet Prize to recognize the most important solutions that can scale rapidly,” says Line Gordon.  

The Curt Bergfors Foundation was established in 2019 to highlight the challenges in today’s food system and find new ways to redesign it for the future.  

“Food has to be partly reinvented all across the chain – from primary sourcing to food and waste management in homes and restaurants,” says Lars Peder Hedberg, Executive Board Director. 

 Background information on the food planet challenge: 

 • The world’s population is 7.8 billion. In 2030 it will be 8.5 billion and by 2050 close to 10 billion. With today’s food system, the world will not be able to feed a population this size without further compromising Earth’s climate and biodiversity.  

• Eradicating hunger by 2030 is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Over 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition. In recent years this has been rising after decades of progress. 

• The food system contributes to about a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.  • The world uses about half of the available land on Earth for food production and about 70% of our use of freshwater is directed to agriculture.   

• The food system is the main driver of a mass extinction of life on Earth.  

The nomination process is now available for submissions at In addition to the Food Planet Prize, the foundation will also fund a professorship with a focus on transformation to a sustainable food system. The intention is for the professorship to be based at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University. 

The founding capital of 500 Million SEK is sourced from Mr. Bergfors’ private assets. Additional funding, up to a total of one billion SEK, is under consideration.    

For further information:   

Johan Rockström, Jury Chairman, spokesperson for the Food Planet Prize   

Lars Peder Hedberg, Executive Board Director, spokesperson for the Curt Bergfors Foundation 
+46 709 7559910