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Brief Introduction of the Root Biology Center at SCAU

The Root Biology Center (RBC) was founded in 1999. In 2007, the Joint Laboratory of Root Biology between South China Agricultural University (SCAU) and Pennsylvania State University (PSU) was established, which was directed by Prof. Yan Xiaolong. In 2011, under the direction of Prof. Liao Hong, RBC became a main research platform for the State Key Laboratory for Conservation and Utilization of Subtropical Agro-bioresources. Currently,  the root biology center has 6 faculty members, including 3 professors, 1 associated professor. Scientists at RBC aim to improve nutrient efficiency traits for crop roots, and are engaged in several important research projects, including International Collaborative Crop Research Projects (CCRP) funded by McKnight Foundation, National Natural Science Foundation Projects, and National Key Basic Research Special Funds (973) projects. With innovative technical systems specially designed for root biological studies, we address morphological, architectural, physiological and molecular basis of the root system with functions as related to nutrient efficiency. Progresses have been made with more than 100 papers published in national and international journals and books, including such core journals as PNAS, Curr Opin Biotech, Curr Opin Plant Biol, New Phytol, Plant Physiol and Plant J. Progresses are also being made in conventional breeding of soybean with better root traits, with a number of new varieties having been certified by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and now being released to the farmers at a large scale, and genetic breeding through transgenic approaches, with a number of nutrient efficient soybean new materials having been developed and characterized. Since it was established, RBC has contributed greatly to scientific development and sustainable agriculture in China.