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EYE ON CHINA
China mulls new rule on human genetic research
China has begun soliciting public opinion on a draft regulation on human genetic research that highlights improved protection over such resources and donors’ interests.

The 50-article draft was designed to replace the existing interim measures on human genetic research, which was introduced in 1998, according to a statement posted on the central government’s website.

The draft proposes a licensing procedure for all organizations involved in the collection and storage of human genetic resources, while also prohibiting any unauthorized activities in the field.

Such entities should set up internal ethics supervision boards and submit annual work reports to provincial science and technology authorities, according to the draft.

Moreover, the draft regulation upgrades requirements in line with the principle of informed consent on the part of donors of genetic materials and privacy protection for such donors.

It also explicitly prohibits any research activities that may result in discrimination and any form of selling or exporting human genetic resources without authorization.

As defined in the draft, “human genetic resources” refer to genetic materials such as human organs, tissues, cells, DNA and DNA products, which contain the human genome, genes or gene products, as well as information extracted from such genetic materials.

The draft was open to feedback.

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