China is using artificial intelligence (AI) for DNA technology, according to UK MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith.
“China now has a head start on applying AI to genomics, which poses a significant threat to our collective national security,” Sir Iain said at the Heritage Foundation. “If China dominates AI and genomics, it will wield unprecedented influence over major industries including, of course, global healthcare.”
Sir Iain added that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using prenatal tests to extract DNA from pregnant women.
The tests’ results, which claim to screen for genetic conditions, are stored on Chinese servers.
“These tests allow China to access the genomic data of both mother and fetus from all over the world, and we have granted them the rights to use that data back in China,” the Member of Parliament explained.
In June, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Genomics Expenditures and National Security Enhancement (GENE) Act as a means of protecting American citizens’ genomic data.
“There is no reason for our lack of oversight on access to American citizens’ genomic data. It’s imperative that Congress has a seat at the table to confront this growing national security and privacy threat,” Rubio said in a press release.
“For too long, the People’s Republic of China has collected Americans’ healthcare data without anywhere near sufficient scrutiny. This legislation would confront this growing national security threat and ensure private genetic information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands,” Cornyn added.
U.S. lawmakers have also considered banning Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) firm that has been accused of stealing Americans’ DNA.
The firm, which has operated in the United States since 2010, is listed by the Pentagon as a “Chinese military company.”
A 2021 report from the National Counterintelligence and Security Center stated, “Over the past decade, China’s BGI has partnered with many research and healthcare entities in America to provide them with genomic sequencing services, while also gaining access to health records and genetic data on people in the U.S,” raising concerns that BGI was connected to efforts seeking to obtain human DNA.