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China Issues New Genetic Data Guidelines

New Chinese guidelines governing the use of genetic data may make international collaborations tricky, Nature reports.

According to Nature, China's Ministry of Science and Technology issued guidelines in March that officials say aim to protect that genetic data resources. It adds that the guidelines come in response to genetic data being exported from China without permission and other incidents. Nature notes that many countries oversee how the genetic data of their citizens is used but adds that many ease the way for sharing for research purposes.

Under China's guidelines, a security review must be conducted for studies of 500 or more people and any foreign organization wishing to collect and store DNA from Chinese citizens must receive ministry permission — which Fudan University's Shuhua Xu tells Nature is a time-consuming process — as well as partner with a Chinese institute, it says. Nature adds that researchers both in China and outside say that the guidelines may make it difficult for Chinese researchers to deposit data in publicly available databases — a requirement of many international journals — and to join international consortia.

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