Researchers are making progress in breeding new crop varieties by using genetic engineering and in establishing the technology for massively breeding useful plants.
“We are working on the research into breeding rice varieties that are highly resistant to cold and saltiness and high in photosynthetic efficiency and yield,” said Hong Hui Gyong, director of the plant genetic engineering institute under the Bioengineering Branch of the State Academy of Sciences.
According to her, there has been a series of advances in bringing forth a new cold-resistant rice plant that can be cultivated in seedbeds without vinyl sheet and another one that can produce high yield in the paddy field with 0.5 percent of salinity.
According to several years of comparative trial, the cold-resistant rice plant produces higher per-hectare yields than previous varieties while saving much labour, materials and funds.
A new technology was also established to mass-produce medicinal herbs based on tissue culture.
According to staffer Ryu Ok Hwa, medicinal herb production units grow herbs mainly by way of seed and root propagation, but it is difficult to produce large quantities of medicinal herbs using such methods.
The institute selected Komarov thorough-wax, tree peony, Korean ostericum, ephedra and stemona that are difficult to breed and in high demand as subjects of study and solved problems arising in their mass propagation. Particularly, it focused on smoothly acclimatizing and producing the plants irrespective of seasonal conditions by employing tissue culture.
“Transplanting of various medicinal herb seedlings grown by tissue culture shows that their rates of rooting and acclimatization are high,” said researcher Jin Song Hyok.
The institute introduced the technique into different medicinal herb management stations in Pyongyang, North Hamgyong Province and Kaesong.
It also carries on the breeding of such new varieties of trees as the sharp persimmon tree using tissue culture, the introduction of cold-resistant apple tree stock into North Hamgyong Province and the development of fish feed which can substitute for 30 percent of protein feed.