China bolsters regulations on use of genetic data by foreign firms

China has approved stricter controls on the management of human genetic resources. The new requirements, which took effect July 1, follow the international outcry over the handling of genetic materials in China. They mandate that genetic materials are used strictly for scientific research and to improve diagnosis and treatment. They require the approval of the Chinese government before foreign firms can export genetic data.

Under the new regulations, foreign firms handling genetic resources in China will be required to partner with a Chinese enterprise. Information on human genetic resources that are deemed to affect public health, national security or the public interest will be subject to review by Chinese authorities.  The regulations also mandate improvements to the supervision of the materials and increase penalties for their misuse.