Ads Top

Exclusive: Concerns over China Fueled Pentagon Warning on DNA Kits

Concerns about China acquiring the DNA of American service members prompted the Pentagon to issue an advisory late last year to the entire force against using commercial popular DNA testing kits to find out one’s ancestry, Breitbart News has learned.

“There is increased concern in the scientific community that outside parties are exploiting the use of genetic data for questionable purposes, including mass surveillance and the ability to track individuals without their authorization or awareness,” the Pentagon said in its December 20 advisory that was first reported by Yahoo News. However, neither the memo or the Yahoo News report specifically mentioned China as the main concern.

But two congressional sources told Breitbart News that the Pentagon’s warning was prompted by concern over China’s efforts to obtain DNA and other personal health information from companies popular in the U.S.

It is not clear how China could use American service member DNA. Experts have warned that DNA could be used to identify and target undercover military agents, using small samples of blood or saliva. China is already reportedly building a database of Uyghur Muslims’ DNA as part of a mass surveillance and control program.

China could also use DNA to tailor biological weapons to target specific groups or individuals. Last July, the U.S. Navy’s then-top officer warned about this very possibility by adversaries.

A 2019 congressionally-commissioned report warned about China obtaining genetic data from Americans through mergers and acquisitions, and investments in U.S. companies.

There is particular concern over popular DNA testing companies such as 23andMe, which is a U.S. company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, that boasts more than 12 million customers.

In 2015, Chinese investment firm WuXi Healthcare Ventures invested $10.45 million to a $115 million venture capital round E financing of 23andMe, to enhance and expand its operations in the U.S. and abroad, according to the February 2019 report prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

At the time WuXi Healthcare Ventures invested in 23andMe, it was the corporate venture arm of Chinese pharmaceutical firm WuXi PharmaTech, now known as WuXi AppTec. Also in 2015, WuXi PharmaTech acquired the U.S. firm NextCODE Health for $65 million and took the genome sequence analysis platform of NextCODE Health to increase the company’s access to labs certified to access the U.S. healthcare market and to broaden its customer base to U.S. doctors and patients.

WuXi Healthcare Ventures, which was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, merged in 2017 with Chinese investment firm Frontline BioVentures to become 6 Dimensions Capital. In November 2018, a U.S. Trade Representative report singled out 6 Dimensions Capital using venture capital to acquire U.S. biotechnology.

Read Complete Editorial Here:
Powered by Blogger.