Gene ID cards issued to help Chinese street children find parents 2008-01-03 19:35:41   Print

    XI’AN, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) — With specially-made ID cards containing their genetic information, 14 street children in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province are likely to find their own biological parents sooner.

    Medical workers from the Fourth Military Medical University of Chinese People’s Liberation Army have issued 14 gene ID cards, the first such cards in Shaanxi Province, to the children accommodated in government-sponsored relief center in the provincial capital of Xi’an.

    "I know my parents will come to me soon and take me home," said Ren Weiwei, while holding his blue color gene ID card.

    A gene ID card, looking almost the same as a common ID card, contains the owner’s genetic information, in addition to his or her name, gender, photo, place where he or she was picked up and approximate year of birth, said Wu Yuanming, director of the medical university’s DNA Gene typing Center.

    The card, with 15 gene loci (gene locations), can represent the full biological characteristics of a person, and has no chance to be identical with another one among the 6 billion population in the world, Wu said.

    "As the first batch of gene ID cards issued in Shaanxi, they will turn over a new leaf in using biological means to find missing family members," Wu said, adding that parents can identify whether a lost child is theirs or not through making a comparison between their genetic code and the kid’s.

    Apart from finding missing family members, gene ID cards can also be used in identity confirmation after accidents, he said.

    Wu believes the gene ID cards will become more and more popular in the years to come though they are not widely used now in China due to high cost — about 600 yuan (82.2 U.S. dollars) for one card, much more than 20 yuan for an ordinary ID card.

    Similar gene ID cards have been issued for different purposes over recent years in Chinese cities such as Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Nanjing, Zhengzhou and Shenzhen.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia


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