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China Sets Up a Wildlife Gene Protection Center
China’s only state-level gene protection center of endangered wildlife species has been established in Zhejiang University. Undertaking four heavy tasks -- protection, research, development, and utilization -- the center aims to raise China’s wildlife gene protection work to a new level.

China is a country considered comparatively rich in bio-diversity. The establishment of the center is therefore of great strategic significance to the preservation, research, development and utilization of the nation’s wildlife gene resources. Now, 10 percent of the global wildlife species are listed as being endangered. At the same time, increasingly severe competition has developed throughout the world to obtain shrinking gene resources of endangered species. Overseas procurement of China’s unique gene species by every possible means has become rampant. The protection and research of wildlife genes are closely related with the overall strategy of sustainable development of Chinese society and economy.

The gene protection center in Zhejiang University, or the laboratory of the inheritance and reproduction for the protection of endangered wildlife, is a key laboratory under the Ministry of Education. The center will carry out work on the protection of genes of endangered wildlife species, drawing on its advantages in human resources, technology and equipment. After five to 10 years of endeavor, it is hoped that a gene resource base involving 2,000 species and a fingerprint atlas of 2,000 species will have been completed. A wildlife somatic cell bank, germ cell bank, cell system, gene cell DNA library and DNA library will be systematically built on the base of collecting and protecting the gene resources materials of endangered species. This center will become a national genetic materials platform of China’s endangered wildlife, as well as a base for international gene exchange and trade. So far, the center has built up 39 endangered wildlife species’ gene resources banks, such as those for the giant panda, Baishanzu fir, South China tiger, and octagonal lotus.

(china.org.cn by Zhang Tingting, July 5, 2002)

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