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The Chinese genomics giant BGI -- a company with extensive global reach -- has been curiously absent from reporting on DNA testing in Xinjiang. Finally it gets a mention in this important essay. But there is more. nature.com/articles/d4158…
For the unfamiliar, 20 years ago BGI powered China's contribution to the Human Genome Project. A series of splashy Science & Nature covers followed. When I moved to China in 2004 to work as a science journalist, BGI was THE media darling. forbes.com/sites/forbesas…
In 2012, BGI opened a fancy research center in Copenhagen, in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen and the Danish government.
copcap.com/newslist/2012/…
It also acquired the US company Complete Genomics, giving it access to the DNA of many Americans. nytimes.com/2012/12/31/hea…
In 2017, BGI launched a research center in Seattle. Partners included the University of Washington, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. wired.com/2017/05/chines…
That same year, as the falling cost of sequencing cut into BGI's global profits, the company opened an office in Xinjiang. chinadaily.com.cn/m/xinjiang/uru…
The Xinjiang partnership includes forensics work, according to archived Chinese press coverage web.archive.org/web/2019120423…
BGI is also **contributing to the creation of a Xinjiang gene bank,** according to this local government post: uhdz.gov.cn/info/1020/1756…
@EBKania raised concerns about BGI back in August, but journals continue to publish papers authored by the company's scientists defenseone.com/ideas/2019/08/…
More importantly, researchers around the world rely on BGI sequencers. Harvard geneticist George Church, a luminary in the field, is a longtime advisor and partner. There is even a BGI institute named after him. bio-itworld.com/2017/10/27/bgi…
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