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Archaeologists highlight DNA approach to unlocking historical mysteries

China

China

China

Archaeologists highlight DNA approach to unlocking historical mysteries

2024-05-18 23:54 Last Updated At:05-19 00:27

Archaeologists from Shanghai-based Fudan University have hailed the game-changing role of ancient DNA in exploring China's rich history, as the innovative approach has become a cornerstone in unearthing mysteries of the past, helping researchers to delve deeper into the stories of ancestors.

Led by Wen Shaoqing from the university's Institute of Archaeological Science, the team has made ground-breaking achievements in identification of flora and fauna as well as sediments in ancient times.

Wen took artifacts uncovered during the salvage of the Yangtze River Estuary No. 2, China's largest and best-preserved ancient underwater wooden shipwreck.

"For example, we took a big amphora with a height of some 60 centimeters out of the Yangtze River Estuary No. 2 salvage. The DNA approach showed the content inside the jar was divided into two layers, with the upper part being basically aquatic and the lower of the rest 30 centimeters related with land. Rice DNA is dominant among all DNA extracted from the jar. Why? Because there were too many cups inside the amphora. To save space, cups were put together closely and tightly. When we separated cups from each other, we found rice husks crammed between cups. Then we got to know that the rice husks were used to prevent the cups from getting crushed. So rice husks were put inside as [shakeproof] stuffing," said Wen.

What's more, the archaeological team detected bamboo DNA from the relics, revealing new findings of the shipping lines.

"The cups used to be tied up with bamboos when being packed. But we can't see these bamboos inside as they had already got rotten. The detection of bamboo DNA and rice husk DNA showed that these things were from Jiangxi Province. And the porcelains were from Jingdezhen in Jiangxi. We then came to a conclusion that the sunken ship had anchored in Jiangxi, where the Jingdezhen ceramics were transported aboard. As for the sunken ship, at least we know that it sailed from Jingdezhen before the submergence," he said.

Wen also said the sediments in the shipwreck is of great significance to uncover more mysteries.

"If a cabin was overrun with escherichia coli and the like, it was believed to be a restroom. From the fouling on the bottom of the ship, we can probably know where it had been to. That's because different microbes were attached to the bottom of the ship when it sailed to different waters, which can tell us its whereabouts. In other words, we're salvaging a piece of history instead of a shipwreck. These sci-tech methods help us fully unfold these pieces of history. It surely carries the greatest significance in our archaeological work." Wen said.

The Yangtze River Estuary No.2 was a sailing ship from the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The shipwreck is about 38.5 meters long and 7.8 meters wide, and it contains 31 cabins. The ship is "sleeping" under the waters northeast of Shanghai's Hengsha Island, with its hull buried 5.5 meters under the seabed.

Archaeologists highlight DNA approach to unlocking historical mysteries

Archaeologists highlight DNA approach to unlocking historical mysteries

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China to facilitate foreign investment in domestic securities: official

2024-06-20 14:13 Last Updated At:14:37

China is devising means to further facilitate foreign institutional investments in its capital market and coordinate the opening-up of the interbank and exchange bond markets, said Zhu Hexin, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, on Wednesday in east China's Shanghai.

As of the end of May, more than 1,100 overseas institutions from more than 70 countries and regions entered the domestic bond market. Their bond holdings have amounted to 4.3 trillion yuan (around 592.3 billion U.S. dollars), with an average annual growth rate of nearly 20 percent in the past five years.

Speaking at the Lujiazui Forum, a major financial sector gathering, Zhu noted China plans to simplify and improve fund management for the dollar-denominated Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme (QFII) and its yuan-denominated sibling, RQFII.

The QFII and RQFII programs are designed to allow overseas investors to deploy funds into China's domestic capital markets.

"We are revising relevant fund management regulations to further simplify and improve the fund management of qualified foreign institutional investors, support the expansion of patient capital, and support domestic institutions in making cross-border investments. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange recently granted quotas totaling 2.27 billion U.S. dollars to 53 institutions under the QDII program, which enables Chinese investors to access foreign assets. Drawing on the experience of international financial centers, we will research and refine the cash pooling program integrating domestic and foreign currency management and support multinationals in establishing global or regional fund management centers in Shanghai," said Zhu, who is also the administrator for the State Administration of the Foreign Exchange of China.

To further boost China's financial market, Zhu underscored the need to leverage Shanghai's leading role in promoting China's financial opening up.

Shanghai has become the city with the highest concentration of foreign financial institutions in China, he said, noting that China has supported 163 multinationals in establishing fund pools in the city.

Efforts should be made to replicate and promote Shanghai's high-level opening-up policies to the Yangtze River Delta and even the whole country, to achieve greater breakthroughs in the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and forge new advantages for an open economy at a higher level, Zhu said.

China to facilitate foreign investment in domestic securities: official

China to facilitate foreign investment in domestic securities: official

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