BGI-IRB was officially established in March, 2011. Prior to the establishment of the IRB, BGI and other partners complied with the unified Bioethical requirements and specification. Since 2008, BGI began to independently review the implementation bioethics, and recruited experts on ethics, social studies, and legal field to the bioethics review committee. The establishment of BGI-IRB represents a more comprehensive bioethics review systems.
BGI-IRB currently has a 17-committee member team which include experts on ethics, law, medicine, biology, sociology and community representatives. Of which 10 committee members are from BGI internally while other 7 committee members come from other institute or universities. Committee members review the project base on respective profession and duties to ensure fairness.
The main responsibilities of BGI-IRB include:
1. Establish and improve the work of BGI-IRB
BGI engages in innovative research on gene technology, and insists on three principles: Development of scientific research and technological development must be based on the principle that all men are created equal; IRB must always protect the participants' interests, personal privacy and information security; never apply research results in those fields that may not comply to ethics understanding.
Based on these principles, BGI-IRB constantly establish and improve relevant working system in the development process, to make a clear project review process and applicable regulations to ensure the orderly conduct of the project review, making real benefits to mankind.
2. Establish Project review and approval process
BGI-IRB will review the projects which refer to human health, environment, and animal rights. According to respective profession and duties, the committee will estimate the research and experimentation risk, assign 2-3 committee members to review the project, and to arrange meeting regularly. With high risk project, IRB will organize discussion and subject research project leader to answer all questions raised by committee members. The project’s approval will be based on votes of committee members. In most circumstances, any committee member can veto a project.
3. Bioethics training for all employees of BGI
BGI-IRB organizes regular training sessions for all employees on bioethics and biosafety knowledge, ensure all employees to understand bioethics rules and requirements, and to apply bioethics knowledge in their daily work. Employees will get a course-completion certificate after training.
4. External communication
BGI-IRB actively participates in domestic and international bioethics meetings, communicates with experts in the fields of bioethics concepts, principles and procedures. BGI-IRB also provides training and speech for domestic hospitals, secondary schools and the relevant companies to ensure wider understanding of bioethics and biosafety, and of BGI efforts to ensure all the genomics research projects conform to the requirement of Bioethics.
Through the rigorous censorship, BGI-IRB will continue to comply with international accepted ethical principles, to ensure the scientific research carry out smoothly, to promote gene technology, and to improve the level of human health and life quality.
BGI has joined in "Global Alliance for Genomics and Health", please click to read the Framework for Responsible Sharing of Genomic and Health-Related Data, and 3 consent tools for the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH).