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China to send pig sperms to outer space
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-18 11:21:30

     
Some 40 grams of pig sperm will be carried on board the spacecraft Shenzhou VI when it blasts off in early October.
A young pig in Beijing. China plans to take semen from pedigree pigs on its second manned space mission to study whether exposure to outer space alters the genetic make-up of the sperm. [AFP/file]
CHONGQING, July 17 (Xinhuanet) -- China plans to bring animal seeds to the outer space for the first time in its second manned mission, Shenzhou VI, which is scheduled for early October this year.

    Former space breeding experiment was done with plant seeds only.

    The Chongqing Academy of Animal Husbandry Science (CAAHS) in this southwest China's municipality recently signed a contract with the space breeding center of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Under the accord, Shenzhou VI will carry 40 grams of pig sperms to the outer space. The sperms will come from two carefully chosen Rongchang pigs, according to a CAAHS official.

    Named after Rongchang County of Chongqing, Rongchang pig is outstanding in terms of figure and quality. Its pork is well received both at home and abroad.

    In October, part of the chosen sperms will be put inside the biological capsule of Shenzhen VI and the other part will be put outside. It is believed that under the microgravity and cosmic rays of the outer space, genes of the sperms stored in different manners will be changed in different ways.

    After staying for 4 to 5 days in the outer space, the pig sperms will be put together with pig eggs in test tubes on the earth. What kind of changes will occur in the figure and quality of the test-tube pigs? The experiment results will likely come outin two years, according to breeders.

    Wang Jinyong, head of the CAAHS breeding center, said that his academy has invested more than two million yuan (240,963 US dollars) in related researches and equipment for the upcoming tests. Enditem

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