Brussels, 06 Nov 2002
Indian scientists have accused European scientists of violating India's guidelines on removing biological material for research from the country.
A joint UK/German study analysed DNA from the saliva of 988 people living in Kerala, southern India. The study was conducted here because of it has the highest levels of natural radiation caused by sand that is rich in thorium. Researchers found point mutations in the DNA and an increased incidence of the mutations between mothers and children.
Indian scientists are critical of the UK and German scientists for removing samples from the country without approval. Indian does not want its large and diverse population to become a source of genetic information to be commercialised. 'India should not just be a supplier of biological samples,' said Dr Pawan Chauhan from the Indian Council of Medical Research.
The scientists involved in the project have however insisted that the study has and will have no commercial application and that all samples were taken with the donors' consent.
For further information, please visit: http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/325/7371 /990/b