DNA: The data companies, countries and cops all want | 60 Minutes Full Episodes

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DNA: The data companies, countries and cops all want | 60 Minutes Full Episodes

The Biodata Race (00:00:11)

  • China's aggressive collection of Americans' healthcare data, including DNA, poses a threat to national security and the economy.
  • China aims to become the dominant leader in DNA science and technology, outlined in their "Made in China 2025" national strategy.
  • China is building a vast domestic DNA database and supplementing it with data from around the world, aiming to achieve true artificial intelligence and gain a significant advantage in various fields.
  • China restricts access to its biological data while using various methods to acquire data from other countries, including hacking and legitimate means.
  • China strategically uses DNA data against its own citizens, particularly the Muslim minority, for political indoctrination and social control.
  • Chinese companies like BGI are involved in the collection of genetic information of ethnic Uyghurs and are obligated to share data with the Chinese regime under a series of laws.
  • BGI has been steadily developing partnerships with hospitals and biotech companies inside the United States, giving China potential access to DNA data, sequencing technology, and analytics.
  • BGI denied allegations that American citizens' genomic data is compromised through their activities in the US.

DNA for Sale (00:14:14)

  • The global biotech sector, including companies developing COVID-19 vaccines, is estimated to be worth up to $4 trillion annually, surpassing the combined valuation of Amazon and Apple.
  • Many US companies are investing in collecting and analyzing vast amounts of health data, recognizing that control over healthcare lies in data analysis.
  • DNA is a unique identifier of an individual, making it vulnerable to exploitation and identity theft.
  • The US military has warned service members against using direct-to-consumer genealogy tests due to the unregulated nature of these tests and the potential exposure of genetic information to outside parties.
  • Data, including health data from smartwatches, social media, and credit cards, is considered the "new oil" in the biotech industry.
  • Concerns exist about informed consent when individuals provide their DNA, as most customers may not fully comprehend the implications of allowing their data to be used for research and commercial purposes.
  • 23andMe, a genetic testing company, has partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to study diseases and develop treatments using customers' DNA.
  • There is growing investment from foreign firms, particularly Chinese companies, in US companies that collect biodata, raising national security concerns.
  • The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is tasked with scrutinizing suspicious business deals involving foreign entities, including those related to biodata collection.
  • China is publicly stating its intention to win the genetic information revolution and is investing heavily in its own genetic programs.
  • The United States is underfunding genetic research compared to China and needs to increase its investment to remain competitive.

Genetic Genealogy (00:26:41)

  • Genetic genealogy, combining DNA analysis, computer technology, and traditional genealogy, has become a powerful tool for law enforcement in solving cold cases.
  • In a notable success, the Golden State Killer case was solved after decades when retired police officer James Joseph D'Angelo's DNA matched the killer's profile.
  • Curtis Rogers, who runs the largest public DNA database in the US called Gedmatch, initially created it as a free resource for people to search for relatives but later faced privacy concerns when law enforcement agencies started using it without users' consent.
  • Genetic genealogy can provide initial leads, but expert genealogists like CC Moore are crucial in turning possibilities into suspects. Moore's work has led to arrests in several cases, including the 31-year-old double homicide and the 1988 murder of April Tinsley.
  • Miller was arrested and confessed to the murder of April Tinsley after DNA evidence linked him to the crime scene.
  • While genetic genealogy is a promising new technology, concerns exist about the reliability of crime scene DNA, the lack of standards and protocols, and the potential for website users to unknowingly become genetic informants on their relatives.
  • No cases involving genetic genealogy have gone to trial yet, raising uncertainty about potential legal objections.

What happens after you spit in the tube? (00:40:12)

  • Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies like 23andMe provide individuals with access to their genetic information for ancestry and health purposes.
  • Genetic data is valuable for developing personalized treatments and understanding disease susceptibility, making it a commodity of interest to companies, countries, and law enforcement agencies.
  • Concerns exist about the potential misuse of genetic data and the lack of transparency regarding its use for research and commercial purposes.
  • The United States lacks comprehensive laws regulating the sale and use of genetic data, leaving individuals vulnerable to potential exploitation.

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