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China’s gene giant harvests data from millions of pregnant women

China’s gene giant harvests data from millions of women

A prenatal test used worldwide sends gene data of pregnant women to the company that developed it with China’s military. The U.S. sees a security risk.

A Chinese gene company selling prenatal tests around the world developed them in collaboration with the country’s military and is using them to collect genetic data from millions of women for sweeping research on the traits of populations, a Reuters review of scientific papers and company statements found.

U.S. government advisors warned in March that a vast bank of genomic data that the company, BGI Group, is amassing and analyzing with artificial intelligence could give China a path to economic and military advantage. As science pinpoints new links between genes and human traits, access to the biggest, most diverse set of human genomes is a strategic edge. The technology could propel China to dominate global pharmaceuticals, and also potentially lead to genetically enhanced soldiers, or engineered pathogens to target the U.S. population or food supply, the advisors said. 

— Read more below on http://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/health-china-bgi-dna/

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