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A Fair Few Sequencers

A police department in Xinjiang, China, is increasing its collection of DNA samples from the Muslim Uighur minority group in the region, leading to concerns that the samples will be used politically, Nature News reports. It adds that the Chinese government has, in recent years, come down on separatist movements in Xinjiang.

"Our concern is that there is widespread collection of DNA without legal protection and without telling people," Maya Wang, a researcher for Human Rights Watch and author of a report on the situation, tells Nature News.

Her report found that the police department has ordered 12 DNA sequencers and has the capability to analyze as many 2,000 DNA samples each day. Those sequencers include eight from Thermo Fisher Scientific and four domestically produced ones, Nature News reports, adding that it found that the department has also purchased a next-generation sequencer.

The University of Tokyo's Sumio Sugano says that goes beyond what typical forensic applications need.

While experts tell Nature News that expanded police surveillance is expected in many countries, they add that they have concerns about how these samples have been collected as some reports say they were forced.