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|Wednesday, July 18, 2001, updated at 08:55(GMT+8)|
Important Breakthrough Achieved in Gene StudiesA team of local scientists made an important scientific breakthrough concerning the mutations of human genes and their discovery has attracted worldwide attention among academic circles and from the media.
It is the first time that a team of Chinese genetic scientists have produced such a remarkable discovery, and their work has been validated by overseas scholars through publication in the magazine Nature, said Chen Zhu, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
A team of local scientists -- led by He Lin, director of the Bio-X Life Science Research Centre of Shanghai Jiao Tong University --spent two years in decoding the mystery entangled in the genetic disease Brachydactyly Type A-1.
The disease is characterized by shortened or missing bones of the middle fingers or toes.
The disease was initially identified as the first recorded example of a human anomaly with Mendelian autosomal-dominant inheritance by Farabee, Phd, of Harvard University Medical School.
Although it has been cited in most genetic and biological textbooks, the specific gene leading to brachydactyly Type A-1 has remained a mystery for nearly a century.
He Lin and his team identified the gene IHH as the cause of the disease.
"Our success came from the co-operation of many people. Without them, we probably would have had to wait another one or two years to achieve this result,'' He said.
In another development, the Shanghai-based Fudan University began a three-year co-operative effort with University Paris 1, one of the most renowned in France, to study technical, legislative and ethical problems related to human cloning.
Seventeen experts and professors of both universities, 10 from China and seven from France, will meet yearly to exchange opinions and share the latest research achievements in this field.
After three years, they will co-author a publication highlighting their achievements.
"Although it's a common perception that human cloning is unethical, some French and Chinese geneticists maintain that such cloning attempts should be encouraged,''said Zhang Naigen, director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Study of Fudan University.
Experts on both sides hope to reach a common and practical conclusion about this topic through mutual co-operation.
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