Genechip for Fast Medicine Track Developed in HK

Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have developed a genechip-based technology, a faster and cheaper means of testing the authenticity of traditional Chinese medicine.

The technology will significantly add to the medical potential and commercial profitability of traditional Chinese medicine, said Nancy Ip, director of the university's biotechnology research institute.

Identification of traditional Chinese medicinal materials is difficult even for experts, and this is particularly true for similar looking herbal materials that can often vary greatly in their medicinal properties and market value, Ip said.

With the genechip technology, researchers are able to tell very accurately one species from some others within one day. They first identify a distinct DNA sequence that is unique to each species of medicinal plant or animal origin.

The technology enables researchers to test hundreds of samples simultaneously at present, Ip said, adding that he hoped the genechips will be used for diverse applications.

(Xinhua 06/05/2001)

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