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   HGT Investigation

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Special Features: HGT investigation

It is necessary to know what the scientific researchers’ perceives of horizontal gene transfer. Thus, we visited Peking University, Peking University Health Science Center, The Third Hospital of Peking University and National Institute of Biological Sciences (Beijing) in this summer, sent out hundreds of questionnaires, which were produced based on international biosafety manuals and domestic regulations. From results of the questionnaire, we have a rough idea of people’s understanding degree, and draw a conclusion that most of researchers know little about HGT, leading to their carelessness of experiment operation and worries.

The part one aimed at knowing people’s background information. Majority of lab workers received our questionnaires were graduate students, and the length of time they stayed in lab varied from several months to several years.

Questions of part two investigate some general issues of bio-safety. The first question was designed to investigate the lab members awareness of the biosafety level system and whether they paid attention to their own lab’s safety level.

The biosafety level is meaningful because it provides a detailed requirement for labs different level and correspondently the experiment the lab can do when they satisfy this requirement. If the member did not know the system or did not know what level the lab they work in is, they will probably do experiment which are forbidden in the lab of this level. Thus, there will be potential safety risks. The second question revealed the lab’s emphasis on biosafety which is closely related to people’s awareness. Safety education for rookies is necessary to keep proper operation and prevent safety of both individuals and the laboratory. The graduate programs in China need to improve a lot at this point.

The fourth question indicates whether people are aware of the serious results which will be caused by inappropriate manipulations. Many people know the right way to conduct the experiment safely, but sometimes they will not do as they were taught or they may think that it made little difference to obey the standard for they do not the seriousness of this issue. Luckily, almost all students would like to stop others’ improper actions and explain the reason. It is really important to improve people’s awareness of biosafety.

Similar with the first question in this part, the 5th question wants to investigate people’s concerning degree for biosafety. It is also indicative for the nation’s publicity of their biosafety related law and the government’s attitude. Unfortunately, hardly people know any domestic law and regulation, and some international ones such as WHO biosafety manual and guidelines by NIH are more widely concerned. Thus both scientific institution and local government should improve the laws and regulations despite promoting education.

In part three, we investigate how much do people know about horizontal gene transfer. The first question could tell whether people know what horizontal gene transfer means. Only the second and the third statements are correct, and there were one-third people who cannot choose correctly. In the second question, we would like to know whether people are familiar with the consequence of horizontal gene transfer. Although chances are slim, all of four choices will cause horizontal gene transfer, but few researchers could give the right answer.

Question three is about how to eliminate the effect of HGT. by this question we would like to remind people some easy ways to eliminate HGT and thus to better protect ourselves. All descriptions can eliminate the effect of horizontal gene transfer. Still, the accuracy rate needs to be improved. And the fourth question indicated that, few people were concerning with HGT when they made experimental designed. Many of them had never thought about HGT or did not know what measures should be taken.

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