Beijing has listed biotechnology as one of 10 key sectors for development under its ‘Made in China 2025’ industrial strategy.
With targets to be met, the government is spending more on health care – last year more than US$100 billion. It has also been trying to entice talent working overseas to return to China – so far more than two million have answered the call, with around 250,000 from the life sciences field returning in the last six years.
The CRISPR method is an easier and quicker form of genetic modification. It allows researchers to replace bits of genetic code with a speed and precision unseen in other types of genetic modification. It is used for both human health and for the genetic modification of crops and other biological products. Scientists based in China were the first to test CRISPR gene editing in humans when, in 2016, they inserted edited cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer during a clinical trial.
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