The perils of DNA import/export

Ever had trouble transporting DNA across international borders? I was in linkurl:Taiwan;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53597/ last year covering a conference on linkurl:DNA barcoding,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53881/ which was attended by scientists from all over the world. Most of them were studying linkurl:cryptic;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/12/1/39/1/ flora or fauna endemic to far-flung countries; usually not their own. A few researchers told me nightmari

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob started with The Scientist as a staff writer in 2007. Before joining the team, he worked as a reporter at Audubon and earned a master’s degree in science journalism...

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Mar 31, 2008
Ever had trouble transporting DNA across international borders? I was in linkurl:Taiwan;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53597/ last year covering a conference on linkurl:DNA barcoding,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53881/ which was attended by scientists from all over the world. Most of them were studying linkurl:cryptic;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/12/1/39/1/ flora or fauna endemic to far-flung countries; usually not their own. A few researchers told me nightmarish tales of legal wrangling and hoop jumping that was necessary to ferry the raw material for their studies - DNA or intact tissues from endemic species - across international borders. It got me thinking that this might be an inconvenience that scientists from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar deal with on a regular basis. But could this be more than a simple inconvenience? Could the restrictive laws meant to protect the diversity (and intellectual property) of biologically rich nations be slowing international research that could ultimately help conserve that biodiversity? I'm thinking of writing a feature article on the...
ering a conference on linkurl:DNA barcoding,;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/53881/ which was attended by scientists from all over the world. Most of them were studying linkurl:cryptic;http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/12/1/39/1/ flora or fauna endemic to far-flung countries; usually not their own. A few researchers told me nightmarish tales of legal wrangling and hoop jumping that was necessary to ferry the raw material for their studies - DNA or intact tissues from endemic species - across international borders. It got me thinking that this might be an inconvenience that scientists from Azerbaijan to Zanzibar deal with on a regular basis. But could this be more than a simple inconvenience? Could the restrictive laws meant to protect the diversity (and intellectual property) of biologically rich nations be slowing international research that could ultimately help conserve that biodiversity? I'm thinking of writing a feature article on the international legal landscape concerning the import/export of biological samples. If you have a story about facing difficulty getting vital research samples into or out of a country, tell us by posting a linkurl:comment;http://www.the-scientist.com/forum/addcomment/54515/ below or emailing us at mail@the-scientist.com.

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