China is to tighten control over the transportation of human genetic resources in and out of the country.
According to a draft regulation released Wednesday by the website of the central government, organizations and individuals are not allowed to transport human genetic material of Chinese people out of the country without official permission.
Those who wish to bring such material into China for the sake of scientific research should file a report to the authorities.
As defined in the draft, "human genetic resources" refer to genetic materials such as human organs, tissues, cells, DNA and DNA by-products, including the human genome, genes or gene products, as well as information extracted from such genetic materials.
According to a report released on the Internet by Chen Jiejun, an expert with the China National Center for Biotechnology Development, the blood and DNA samples of 20 million Chinese people in Anhui Province were collected in a project conducted by Harvard University.
Loopholes in the project's supervision violated ethics, and the participants' safety was not ensured, according to the report.
The draft also proposes a licensing procedure for all organizations involved in the collection and storage of human genetic resources. Such entities should set up internal ethics supervision boards and submit annual work reports to provincial science and technology authorities, according to the draft.
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