Did you know the USDA has partnered with a massive Chinese biotech firm that was blacklisted by the Department of Defense?
· Jul 28, 2023 · NottheBee.com

I just feel like this is maybe the kind of thing a U.S. federal department should not be doing:

A group of Republican senators are probing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over its partnership with Chinese biotech firm BGI, warning that the collaboration could give China a competitive edge while putting U.S. security in danger.

The Chinese genomics giant, which has been blacklisted by both the Defense and Commerce Departments, has been working with the USDA since as early as 2018 on the Earth BioGenome Project, which aims to sequence the genomes of over 1.5 million species over a 10-year span to catalog the earth's biodiversity.

How does a Washington-level bureau even begin working with a company that has been blacklisted by the Department of Defense? Who allows that? Who greenlit it?

As the senators note, the entire undertaking is a "massive effort to sequence all of life." It's a sensitive topic. It has profound security implications in a wide variety of areas. The Department of Defense, for one, blacklisted the company because of its support for the "modernization goals of the People's Liberation Army."

Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall correctly pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party "views biology as a domain of warfare." As such, the U.S. government "must take extreme caution to prevent sponsoring research that gives any sensitive materials and intellectual property to the Chinese Communist Party."

I'd say it's too late for that!

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