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The Ministry of Science and Technology
People's Republic of China


N0.222 May 10,2000
    1.World Largest Wetland Conservation Zone
    2.National Ecological Demonstration Zones Listed
    3.Genetic Pig Skin for Burn Treatment
    4.Major Breakthrough for Diagnosing Earlier Cancers
    5.Giant Panda Embryo Cloned
    6.World First Tobacco Hazardous Matter Inhibitor
    7.Dedicated Development Fund for West China

World Largest Wetland Conservation Zone

China will establish a national nature reservation zone covering the source areas of Yangtze River, Yellow River and Lancangjiang River which travels through 6 countries.

Being China's “water bank”, the source area of the said three rivers are teemed with streams, lakes. It has a wetland area of 10,000 km2, which makes the largest wetland of highest elevation and most concentrated biodiversity in the world.

The three-river source nature conservation zone covers an area of 236,000 km2 with a population of 262,000. The conservation zone is of rich wildlife resources including unique Tibetan wild donkey, yak, chiru, Tibetan fox, goa, snow panther and Himalayan marmot.

Divided by its functions, the conservation zone is composed of core section, buffer section and experimental section. The core section will serve for protecting an area over 100m2 including major river trunks originating from three-river sources, lakes, wetlands, and some of the wildlife habitats in the section. The protection will be implemented in a seal-off manner prohibiting any human activities. Located at the external part of the core section, the buffer section will allow limited animal husbandry according to the bearing capacity of pastures and relevant scientific research activities. The experimental section covering towns, farmland and cultural relics with a dense population will serve for the purpose of ecological tourism and research activities.

At present, the ecological environment of three-river source areas have witnesse cation, deterioration of vast fine pastures, accelerated soil erosion and sand sediments and river and lake water level declining. In addition, excessive herding, illegal poaching, irrational gold mining and medical herb digging have accelerated the shrinkage of water resources and caused damages to biodiversity.

Experts said that three-river source areas are of a very sensitive and vulnerable ecological system. Once it is damaged, it will be difficult to recover. It will not only have serious implications on the river source itself but also on east China as a whole.

National Ecological Demonstration Zones Listed

Yanqing County of Beijing and other 32 prefectures and counties were listed by State Bureau of Environmental Protection as national ecological demonstration zones, the first of its kind in the country approved by the Chinese authorities to materialize its sustainable development strategies.

As briefed by Zhu Guangyao, Deputy Administrator of Environmental Protection, thirty three ecological demonstration zones were selected from 154 candidate areas to be the role models for the coordinated economic, social and environmental development.

The construction of ecological demonstration zones is an efficient approach paving the way for regional economic and social sustainable development, effective means streamlining the relationship between environment and development and between protection and development and a major task of regional ecological environmental protection in the future.

China has worked out strict standards and targets for the construction of ecological demonstration zones including the targets on economic development, ecological environment construction and social development. Of them, there are 19 ecological environmental standards such as those on forest coverage, utilization of new energy, control of deteriorated land, decreasing rate of chemical fertilizers and pesticides applications, recycling rate of thin plastic film, water and air quality and comprehensive utilization of solid wastes; social development targets include a number of parameters such as natural population growth rate, education, technicians per 10,000 persons and etc.

Genetic Pig Skin for Burn Treatment
Institute of Burns Treatment, Southwest Hospital of No. 3 Military Medical School, have successfully married genetic modification technology with burns treatment studies and worked out genetically modified pig skin of long survival time, resistance to rejection and improved immune functions. Selected as one of the top ten news reports for Chinese medical communities in 1999 by authorities concerned, the said result can be widely applied in skin transplantation for burned patients.

Scientific research personnel of Institute of Burns Treatment, Southwest Hospital of No. 3 Military Medical School, have harvested major breakthroughs in the studies of preparing genetically modified pig skin for burns treatment and its commercialization by successful application of genetic modification technology in burns treatment.

Pig skin genetically modified for burns treatment is obtained by introducing inducible immune tolerance genes through a carrier into pig skin and thus making it produce cells with a skin composition similar to that of human. With rich body skin coverage, the pig has rich skin sources with its composition, physiological features and functions close to those of human. Therefore selecting pig skin as a heterogeneous skin provider has led to satisfactory results through direct introduction of inducible immune tolerance genes into pig skin. With the help of the application of series of biotechnologies, the scientific research personnel produced genetically modified pig skin free from rejection for the whole life and safe for clinical applications, which provides a fundamental solution for the skin covering of burn wounds . On the basis of reliable scientific data acquired from basic studies, the institute have tested clinical applications and achieved satisfactory results.

Chinese burns experts believed that the success has introduced a new revolution to burns treatment and a happy news for burn patients. From now on, skin transp lantation will not solely count on heterogeneous skin but also on young pig skin which is not only of the effects preventing heavy scare formation but also greatly reduced costs. It will have broad clinical application perspectives and make a new contribution to the human health.

Major Breakthrough for Diagnosing Earlier Cancers

Asimple blood testing may tell the existence of cancers at their earlier stage. A testing package named as TSGF was recently approved by state authorities as class one external testing reagent. Its birth has made extensive detecting cancers at earlier stage possible and demonstrated China's breakthrough progress and internationally advanced position in developing earlier cancer diagnosing techniques.

After six years of study, on the of international knowledge of cancer and associated testing techniques, Fujian based Xindalu Biotech Co. Ltd. identified a number of elements among numerous malignant tumor related substances acknowledged by international communities and successfully developed specific color reagents and analyzing technique, which made testing for multiple cancers under a single blood testing system possible. As shown by thousands of clinical testing results collected from hundred over a hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai, Shandong, Hunan and Jiangsu,the sensitivity and specificity of TSGF reached 86% and 97% respectively. Clinicians and cancer experts believed that TSGF reagents are of significant application value in detecting earlier cancers on a wide spectrum basis. It is also good for preventive cancer survey, cancer patient monitoring and dynamic observation of chemical therapy after operations.

It is reported that the product is one of the latest result from National Torch Program and the first and only class one tumor testing reagent approved by State Pharmaceutical Administration.

Giant Panda Embryo Cloned

Chinese scientists who chaired giant panda cloning expressed not long ago that they have successfully worked out the earlier embryo of giant panda through planting the panda's body cells into enucleate rabbit egg cells. The said development implies that the giant panda cloning project could reach its targets ahead of its plan scheduled for 3-5 years.

The research group headed by Chen Dayuan, research fellow of Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have solved one of two key issues in cloning giant panda. They are now working on the other: let the early embryo (so far ten months old) get its full fledged development in another animal's uterus. Their research results have been published in the latest issue of China Science.

A unique feature of the result is that the heterogeneous cloning technique is used to marry enucleate white rabbit egg cells with the panda's own cells. Heterogeneous cloning is a sophisticated technique critical to rescuing endangered animals. At the present stage, most animal cloning are made on a homogeneous basis, namely both provider cells and receptor cells come from the same source animal.Experts pointed out that it was unrealistic to clone endangered species on homogeneous basis for it is difficult to obtain egg cells from a stock of only about a thousand giant pandas and it is necessary to study heterogeneous cloning approaches.

In the said cloning experiment, body cells were taken from the skeleton mussel,uterus surface skin and mammary glands of an adult female panda after her immediate death. The receptor cells are the egg cells from a Japanese female white rabbit. The results have shown that three kinds of giant panda cell tissues were able to form embryos after marrying with enucleate rabbit egg cells with the best performance of mammary gland cells.

The analysis of chromosome and genetic structures has shown that the genetic characteristics of the heterogeneously cloned embryos are fully identical with those of the giant panda's cells. In this context, the scientists believed that the embryo fruited from the combination of giant panda's body cells and rabbit eggcells carries 100% giant panda's gene rather than a hybrid telling both panda and rabbit.

World First Tobacco Hazardous Matter Inhibitor

Chinese experts have successfully developed a kind of additive named “Puleye”capable of inhibiting tobacco's harm effects on human body without affecting its tastes. The research result has recently passed the experts verification check or ganized by State Tobacco Administration for major S&T results.

Dr. Li Zhengjian, a medical experts of A'cheng Township, Heilongjiang Province, has through his many-year studies worked out a traditional medicine based formula called “Puleye” to inhibit human body's absorption of harmful matters existing in tobacco gas when applying the liquid “Puleye'” over tobacco. To further the studies, State Tobacco Administration has established the project to study the approaches of effective reducing the activity of harmful matters in tobacco gas
with Puleye so as to further test its viability. The result of intercomparison undertaken by Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences have demonstrated that 90% of the mice in the first check group died after passive smoking 53 ordinary cigarettes while all the ones in the other check group survived smoking the same amount of cigarettes.

Further medical testing has also shown that the reason beiind the hazardous effects of cigarette tar is due to the sudden change of human chromosome genes caused by it. Contained the elements preventing such changes, Puleye is able to inhibit tobacco gas' biological activity and its malignant effects on triggering chromosome changes. In addition, it is encouraging to see that “Puleye” is of the inhibiting effects on other cancer triggering elements such as ammonia nitrite and aftatoxin B-1.

As shown by taste testings on a number of brands of cigarettes by 2000 consumers and experts, it is difficult to tell the one with Puleye and the one without.
At present, Puleye, a wide spectrum natural inhibitor of Chinese own intellectual property rights has been listed in the master program for national major S&T results on new materials.

Dedicated Development Fund for West China

Madame Deng Nan, Vice Minister of Science and Technology, disclosed not long ago that Ministry of Science and Technology will make a Rmb 50 million budget available for the dedicated fund to support the socalled Grand West Development, which will in turn channel out other investments amounting to Rmb 150 million into the west. Madame Deng said that Ministry of Science and Technology would invest in the following four major areas of the Grand Development:

1) Help west China to work out a good plan, especially its water plan. West China will determine its industrial and agricultural structures and ecological environment construction on the basis of its available water resources.

2) Centering around ecological environment construction, it will provide scientific and technological support and establish demonstration sites to show coordinated ecological environment development, production activities and living standards improvement. She explained that the production development and improving living standards should go along with the improvement of ecological environment. Afine ecological environment cannot not be sustained without the improvement of production and living standards.

3) Take full advantage of the S&T forces in west China while mobilizing S&T forces from the east to support the west.

4) Provide priority support to S&T projects of resources advantages in west China.

Madame Deng expressed that Ministry of Science and Technology would through market economic means enhance its collaborations with different social forces packed with intellectuals such as democratic parties and All-China Association for Industry and Commerce and mobilize the strength and participation of all walks of life so as to diffuse advanced practical S&T technologies over west rural areas and make more and more people benefited.

National Innovation Center for Chinese Traditional Medicine

National Innovation Center for Chinese Traditional Medicine was formally established on April 19, 2000 in Shanghai. Xu Guanhua, Vice Minister of Science and Technology, and Zhou Yupeng, Vice Mayor of Shanghai Municipality, lifted the curtain for the ceremony.

At present, the new Center mainly focuses on four major areas: establishing information database for Chinese traditional medicine, classifying the diseases, medicines, and formulas and chemical composition of traditional recipes and establishing a website for Chinese traditional medicine at due time; systematic screening of Chinese traditional medicines; developing high tech for traditional medicine screening; and studies of some valuable secrete recipes. The new center has established cooperative relationship with renowned domestic research institutions, universities and hospitals. Not long ago they signed letter of intention on S&T cooperation with American Pittsburgh International Center on Chinese Traditional Medicine and Research Institute of Biotechnology, Hong Kong Science and Technology University.

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