China building marine life germplasm bank

Beijing, Sep 20 (IANS) China has announced that it is constructing a state-level germplasm bank of marine medicinal plants and animals in the coastal city of Xiamen.

With a storage area of 2,000 square metres, the bank will be used to preserve more than 20,000 seed and gene samples from marine medicinal plants, animals, and microorganisms, Xinhua reported.

"Our germplasm bank is very much like a 'Noah's Ark' for marine life," said Lin Xiangzhi, a researcher with the State Oceanic Administration and head scientist of the germplasm bank.

"If some marine plants went extinct, we could take some seeds from the germplasm bank to grow them anew," he said.

Researchers from over 20 universities and research institutes will join the bank to work out key technologies for collection, storage, utilisation and sharing of the seeds and other materials in the germplasm bank, he said.

Stating the marine life resources bank will help promote the development of China's marine life pharmaceutical industry, Lin said the germplasm bank is expected to be completed by December 2015.

"The Chinese medicinal herbs and related sectors on the land churn out 1 trillion yuan ($163 billion) in output value each year,"Lin said. "The marine herbal business has just started and it has bright prospects."

--Indo-Asian News Serivce



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