Sciences in Communist China: A Symposium Presented at the New York Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, December 26-27, 1960

By Sidney H. Gould | Go to book overview

Genetics and Animal and Plant Breeding

C. C. LI, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In reviewing the developments in the field of genetics and breeding in Communist China there are several difficulties which may or may not be unique for this field. One difficulty is inadequate information. Another involves the evaluation of the influence of a paper which is directly associated with the influence of its author. That influence is not always known.

After ten years of Communist Party rule and of Russian as the dominant foreign language in higher institutions, many young graduates are able to read Soviet scientific literature. Full and abridged translations and reviews of Soviet publications appear frequently in Chinese journals. These translations have been selected and do not seem to constitute a systematic general program of translation. I have not included such translated work in this report. I hope that a review of recent Soviet advances in genetics and breeding can be done separately and directly in the near future.

My task here is to review recent Chinese developments and to evaluate Chinese research programs and advances. I anticipated reasonable progress in agricultural sciences in general and in plant breeding in particular, if not in genetics as a whole, an expectation based on the eagerness with which the Communist regime planned to increase agricultural production. Instead, there is a paucity of research papers and reports of improved varieties. A great majority of the articles are reviews and discussions of a very general nature, on a philosophical and political level or a semiscientific basis. When a new result is claimed, much space is devoted to glorifying the new achievements rather than to describing systematically the methodology and the experimental material employed. It is thus for all practical purposes impossible

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