Community/ZJU-China Letter about Shipping DNA

Dear iGEM Headquarters:

This is ZJU-CHINA team. I’m the team leader Brianna Gao. I'm writing this email to give you some advice about the DNA shipment from China in the future.

2 hours ago, we were excited to see that our 2nd 96-well plate was delivered successfully.

This 2nd plate was well-labled and directly sent to you. Shipment number: 03306

We are lucky enough that our package was accepted by Fedex, and pass through the custom without any problem. However, it is still very hard for teams from China to ship DNA to the U.S.

The First Plate Shipping Experience:

We have a chatting group which includes every Chinese Team’s contacts. 3 days ago, we found that some teams were talking about that IGEM HQs asked them to resend their parts, then we received the e-mail from Vinoo 2 hours later.

We began to talk about shipping parts in the chatting group 1 mouths ago, at that time, we had no idea of how to send DNA from China.

2 weeks ago, ZJU-CHINA finished all the bio-brick experiment, so I began to call the express companies to choose one which can help us mail DNA. Unluckily, every company rejected me without any hesitation. So I asked our team member of 2014, who lives in Boston now, to help us send on our first plate.

The Second Plate Shipping Experience:

On 15th Sep, some people in the group were taking about that their parts was rejected by iGEM HQ. On 16th, we received the email that asked us to resend. So I tried to contact Fedex. I called the tel number: 400 886 1888 at 10.30 p.m and booked a express waybill the next day. I asked the staff whether we could send the DNA sample, she said she didn’t know the detail information, and I had to ask the pickup staff.

10.30a.m. 17th Sep 2015, The pickup staff of Fedex arrived our Lab. He asked what I wanted to send, and I said the dry DNA sample. On hearing the word DNA, he began to show a worrying expression.

He asked: "Is that the chemical preparation?"
I said: "No, It's DNA. Dry dna sample, non-hazadous, for research use"
He asked: "What's the texture? Is that powder?"
I said: "No, it's just some dried samples that in the plastic board
Then he looked at the 96-well plate carefully.

He said: "I'm not sure whether your package could be sent, you'd better call the service tel for more information. I leave the express bill on the desk, I will be back in the afternoon. Make sure you have completed all the documents at that time"

So I called the number again, and figured out all the documents we need. See the files for detailed information.

Besides the documents, we also need a paper which can show the specific information for custom: customs declaration elements (hand-writing is OK)

So we got all the four kinds documents, and the pickup staff accept the package at 1.30 p.m. I also taught the Team Peking and WHU the same method, and they have successfully sent their parts.

The most important things for Shipping DNA in CHINA:

  1. First, you need to tell the pickup staff, what we send is not chemical preparation!
  2. Emphasize that it is DNA, non-hazardous, for research use only.
  3. The HS code of DNA: 3822009000 (every Chinese team will be in need of this number, so please let them know next year)
  4. If the pickup staff reject your package, please go to the local service station of express company and send your package there.
  5. Remember to tell the staff that if the package is stuck at custom, it would not be a problem for the express company!

[From the information I get in the chatting group, Fedex is the best choice (the fastest and the cheapest), the second is UPS (expensive and slow), the third is DGM (you have to prepare 3X samples for them to test), the last choice is EMS (O__O)]

I wish my strategy can be helpful for the teams from China to send DNA next year. It is not easy for us to complete all the project, so I hope every team’s parts submission can be successful.
Best wishes