Polish gene project drops Chinese tech group on data concerns

A European Union-funded project to build a genomic map of Poland plans to drop gene-sequencing technology from China’s BGI Group over concerns about data security, one of the project’s leaders told Reuters.

The Genomic Map of Poland’s concerns stem from questions over how Polish genomic data may be used that relate to national security, said Marek Figlerowicz, a Professor at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry at the Polish Academy of Sciences who steers the project.

Figlerowicz said the concerns were initially raised by a report earlier this year from the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) which said BGI may be serving as a “global collection mechanism for Chinese government genetic databases.”

BGI said in response that the U.S. report was “disinformation, not borne out by the facts;” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called it “groundless accusations and smears.”

It said about 100,000 complete Polish genomes may already be in “Far Eastern” laboratories, citing a rough estimate which Reuters could not verify. Poland has no control over that sensitive personal data, the committee said.

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