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China, New Zealand to develop kiwifruit gene pool

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China and New Zealand have agreed to develop a kiwifruit gene pool in southwest China's Sichuan Province over the next five years, to enhance research cooperation on the popular fruit.

A joint laboratory was officially launched by the Sichuan Provincial Academy of Natural Resources Science and the New Zealand Plant and Food Research Institute in Chengdu on May 15.

Researchers will push forward the application of big data and genomics through integrating the resources, markets, technology, and human resources of the two countries, and build the world's largest kiwifruit gene pool.

The nutrient-rich fruit is native to China and was taken across the Pacific to New Zealand in 1904. Many people thought the fruit had a gooseberry flavor, naming it "Chinese gooseberry."

Li Mingzhang, director of the laboratory, said that the research cooperation will allow New Zealand's advanced planting technologies to be introduced to China.

The laboratory has more than 100 sets of advanced scientific equipment, which can be used to study storage technology and the prevention and control of kiwifruit canker disease, said Li.

New Zealand's kiwifruit exports account for one-third of the global supply. China has been both New Zealand's largest export market and import source for years.

Since 1993, the two countries have cooperated on rescue and collection of kiwifruit resources in the Three Gorges Reservoir area. The two sides have built the world's largest kiwifruit germplasm resources bank in Sichuan.

This article was first published by Xinhua.