THE CHINESE military has been caught harvesting DNA from millions of pregnant women around the world, amid US concerns that the genetic data could be used to “engineer new pathogens”.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been harvesting DNA from millions of pregnant women in more than four dozen countries around the world. The PLA harvested the DNA via a popular pre-natal test sold through China’s BGI Group. Reuters uncovered the operation, which US Representative Darrell Issa called a “big national security risk”.

Fox Business host Elizabeth MacDonald said: “Reuters is saying that China wants to be on a path towards economic and military world dominance and dominance in pharmaceuticals.

“The BGI Group is saying that the DNA harvesting is about improving population quality.

“It also puts a new context on why China is accused of covering up the origin of the outbreak in Wuhan and how the Wuhan lab was collaborating with the Chinese military.”

Ms MacDonald noted that the Chinese have the “biggest DNA databank in the world”.

The Fox Business host went on to point out that US officials fear that the DNA data will be used “to genetically enhance soldiers or to engineer pathogens that would target Americans.”

Back in March, US government advisors warned that China’s DNA data could also target the country’s food supply.

Mr Issa responded: “It’s the scariest possible thing. Improving population quality would mean eliminating someone who is not of quality.

“The Chinese military owns any industry they want to own, directly or indirectly.

“If you look at COVID-19, you can wonder if the next virus will target specific genetic traits that are found in one country or one people and not another.

“A disease could easily be developed that would only have immunity by a chosen group or the like.

“After COVID-19 we have to recognise that we cannot take chances with China.”

BGI’s prenatal test is one of the most popular in the world.

The company has worked with the Chinese military to improve “population quality”.

The tests – named NIFTY for ‘Non-Invasive Fetal TrisomY’ – capture genetic information about the mother, as well as details including her country, height and weight.

However, BGI refuted the claims in a statement, insisting it “has never been asked to provide – nor provided – data from its NIFTY tests to Chinese authorities for national security or national defense security purposes”. 

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Reuters investigation reflected “groundless accusations and smears” of US agencies.