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Yuan Longping, rice researcher who helped feed China, dies at 90

Father of hybrid strains spent half a century fending off hunger

Yuan Longping, China's father of hybrid rice, has died at age 90. In 1996 he received the Nikkei Asia Prize, which honored those who have contributed to the development and prosperity of Asia. (Photo by Daisuke Harashima)

DALIAN, China -- Yuan Longping, China's leading rice researcher and an agronomist who dedicated his life to food security after living through the Great Leap Forward, died on Saturday at age 90, according to media reports in China.

Yuan, who was called the "father of hybrid rice," worked on rice breeding to increase yields for more than half a century, making great contributions to solve China's food problems.

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