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1 hn~oduction Biotechnology refers to the manipulation of living organisms and their constituents to benefit mankind. T~di80r~al forms of biotechnology, such as alcohol fermentation and selective livestock breeding, have existed since prehistoric times. In He 1970s, scientists developed new techniques to isolate and characterize dleoxynbonucleic acid (DNA), the molecule that acts as a blueprint for the development of all living creatures. This new technology, known as recombinant DNA, or gene cloning, has allowed scientists to achieve hitherto unprecedented control over living systems. The transfer of new genetic information into living organisms provides the means to create improved crop species and livestock bmeds, to produce valuable pharmaceuticals and natural products, and perhaps even to cure human genetic diseases. China* was still in the throes of Me Cultural Revolution in the 1970s, and thus, Chinese scientists had little chance to p~icip~e in the development of modem biotechnology. But in the past decade, China has chosen economic reform and development over political ideology by emphasizing the Four Modernizations of a~cul~re, industry, national defense, and science and technology. In just Me past 5 years, Chinese leaders have made biotechnology the top prionty in the high technology Self Funding for biological research has been increased more Ban 25-fold during this penod, ahead new mechanisms have been introduced to allocate these monies by competitive, peer-rewewed grants. At Be present time, China's investment in biotechnology, as a percentage of its gross national product, is comparable to Hat in many Western countries. *Throughout this report, China m£ers to Me People's Republic of Acting 1
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2 BI077=HNOLOGYIN CHINA China's altitude toward the United States and over developed counties has also undergone a major shim mom strict isolationism to ever increasing contact and cooperation. Since 197S, in Me biological sciences alone, China has sent more man 2,000 students and researchers to the United Stams for advanced barring. In addition, many joint research and Raining programs in China are currently being supported by American and over foreign academic institutions, private foundations, commercial enterprises, and government agencies. Such cooperative vents have die potential to provide a rapid and efficient mechanism for Chinese scientists to obtain We Wining and technology needed to perform advanced biotechnology research. The Committee on Scholarly Communication with We People's Republic of China (CSCPRC) has been one important conduit for exchange between American and Chinese scientists. Founded in 1966, CSCPRC is sponsor by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the American Council of Warned Societies, and the Social Science Research Council. January 1987, CSCPRC's Subcommittee on Biotechnology signed a 3-year agreement with ~e Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; also known as Academia Sinica) to promote SinmAmerican cooperation in biotechnology. To date, CSCPRC and CAS have cosponsored Free combined Oratory and lecture minicourses at He Shanghai Instate of Biochemistry and one minicourse at Me Beijing Institute of Microbiology. A symposium on gene regulation and gene expression is planned to cap off this 3-year program. The purpose of this report is to help CSCPRC, together with its pponsonng and funding organizations, to fo~Tnulate syzygies to continue and expand cooperation with China in biotechnology. Toward this end, Be report focuses on three areas: 1. The mechanisms by which Chum sets priorities and funds biotechnology research. 2. The current status of China's biotechnology research. Particular emphasis is placed on areas of potential interest to American scientists. 3. The roles of various Apes of international cooperation p¢ogrmns in the development of biotechnology in China After a brief historical introduction in Chapter 2, Chapters 3 through 5 of the report deal with China's biotechnology policy, administration, and infrastructure. they include a summary of current research expenditures; many of these figures were made available to foreigners for the first time in 1988. The literature survey results presented in Chapter 6 and the research highlights in Chapter 7 offer the basis for a systematic analysis of Me topics and quality of China's biotechnology rich. Chapter ~ gives an anecdotal accosting of research at 19 institutions visited by Me authors during a 1-month evaluation Lip. The final two chapters discuss the role of international cooperation and areas of special interest ~ CSCPRC and its Sponsoring organizations. Lee appendixes include lists of contacts for readers interested in China's biotechnology adminisbabon and research.
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