Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU)
华中农业大学

China

PLANTING THE SEEDS FOR FUTURE GROWTH

Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) is one of China’s oldest schools of modern agriculture. With roots in the Hupeh Agricultural College, founded in 1898, it marked the beginning of China’s forays into higher education in agriculture and has been a leader in the field for 120 years.

Today’s HZAU brings together the Hubei Agricultural College, the agricultural school of Wuhan University, as well as the relevant departments of agricultural schools from six other comprehensive universities, which were merged in 1952 to form the Huazhong Agricultural College. This was renamed Huazhong Agricultural University in 1985. HZAU was rated a national key university in 1979, under the administration of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture. In 2005, five years after it came under the auspices of the Ministry of Education (MOE), the university was selected for Project 211, a programme for National Key Universities aimed at boosting research capacities of major Chinese universities.

HZAU strives for national prosperity and rejuvenation, as well as the advancement of human civilization. It is devoted to cultivating talent, exploring truth, and building cultural cohesion. With a vision of creating a world-renowned, research-intensive university with first-class disciplinary programmes and unique strengths, HZAU is committed to serving the economic and social development needs of China as a whole, with a focus on agriculture, rural areas, and farmers.

HZAU has distinctive disciplinary strengths. According to data from the Essential Science Indicators (ESI), HZAU’s plant and animal science discipline was listed among the global top 0.1%, and its agricultural science, chemistry, biology and biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, microbiology, and environmental science/ecology subjects were listed among the global top 1% as of September 2017. It has five discipline clusters — biology, horticulture/crop science, animal science, veterinary medicine, and agricultural/forestry economic management selected to be part of the national ‘Double First-Class’ initiative, which aims to build world-class universities and disciplines in China, ranking the 21st among domestic universities. HZAU also has seven grade-A disciplines in a national evaluation, ranking the 19th among national universities.

The research specialisms of HZAU are evident in a series of globally recognized breakthroughs in crop breeding and animal breeding. Examples include: the development of rapeseed hybrid varieties with high yields and quick growth; functional characterization of rice genomes, which led to a ‘super green rice’ variety with improved disease resistance, grain quality and yields; the development of high-quality citrus varieties; microtuber production of potatoes with improved field performance; the creation of animal vaccines and diagnostic kits; and the use of new breeding systems for leaner swine breeds.

In 2017, the National Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement at HZAU was rated an excellent national key laboratory, the only one receiving the honour for five consecutive years among universities under the MOE. Its State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology was rated a good national laboratory.

HZAU has also established a comprehensive education system. Its 18 schools cover a range of multi-disciplinary areas, offering 60 undergraduate programmes, 27 master’s and 15 doctoral degree programmes. Thirteen postdoctoral programmes aim to produce innovative, independent researchers. In its education programmes, HZAU integrates teaching theory with practice, as it follows an educational philosophy that promotes intelligence and hard work.

By nurturing talent and showing a respect for strong scholarship, HZAU adheres to its motto of “learn and practice, achieve and help achieve”. HZAU people are modest, down-to-earth, and do not blindly follow trends. They hold onto a century-old culture based on solidarity, thrift, honesty, and diligence. Today, by integrating biotechnology with agricultural sciences and seeking to develop both, HZAU aims to drive the sustainable development of agriculture and produce talented leaders with innovative minds. It is diligently planting the seeds for future growth.

Huazhong Agricultural University's Custom Publishing on Nature: You can find more information on Planting the seeds for future growth: 120 year anniversary of Huazhong Agricultural University.

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1 November 2017 - 31 October 2018

Region: Global
Subject/journal group: All

The table to the right includes counts of all research outputs for Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) published between 1 November 2017 - 31 October 2018 which are tracked by the Nature Index.

Hover over the donut graph to view the FC output for each subject. Below, the same research outputs are grouped by subject. Click on the subject to drill-down into a list of articles organized by journal, and then by title.

Note: Articles may be assigned to more than one subject area.

AC FC
73 32.88

Outputs by subject (FC)

Subject AC FC
Life Sciences 40 16.33
Chemistry 12 5.79
Physical Sciences 7 3.87
Earth & Environmental Sciences 21 9.30
12 5.21
5 3.13
1 0.04
1 0
2 0.93

Highlight of the month

New tools to tune rice grain size

© Yevgen Romanenko/Getty

© Yevgen Romanenko/Getty

The genetic pathway that controls the size of rice grains has been identified. By adjusting the components of the pathway individually or in combinations, researchers can predictably manipulate rice grain size and thus increase yield.

Rice grain size is influenced by G proteins, which are made up of Gα, Gβ and Gγ subunits. To determine how they affect grain size, a team at China’s Huazhong Agricultural University expressed the genes encoding Gγ proteins in various combinations.

They found that three Gγ proteins, DEP1, GGC2 and GS3, interact to determine grain size. DEP1 and GGC2 can both bind to a Gβ protein, RGB1, leading to longer grains. But GS3 can block this by binding to RGB1, leading to shorter grains.

Through this competitive interaction, the balance between these genes determines whether the plant produces short, medium or long grains. Manipulating this balance offers a reliable way to control the size of rice grains.

Supported content

  1. Nature Communications 9, 851 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03141-y

View the article on the Nature Index

See more research highlights from Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU)

More research highlights from Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU)

1 November 2017 - 31 October 2018

International vs. domestic collaboration by FC

  • 59.24% Domestic
  • 40.76% International

Note: Hover over the graph to view the percentage of collaboration.

Note: Collaboration is determined by the fractional count (FC), which is listed in parentheses.

Affiliated joint institutions and consortia

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