EU chief’s gift to Beijing: His DNA

When the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, visits China this week, he will leave a gift for President Xi Jinping: a sample of his genetic material.

Under Beijing’s current rules, Michel must submit a COVID swab upon arrival in China. during your China trip earlier this monthGerman Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s PCR test was performed by a German doctor who traveled with him on his plane, rather than a local doctor.

But these precautions were not taken before Michel’s visit. An EU official told POLITICO Brussels Playbook That Michel’s PCR would be administered by a Chinese government doctor in Beijing.

The issue has been in the limelight ever since French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year refused to allow Vladimir Putin’s doctors to conduct a COVID test when he visited Russia, instead allowing social distancing. opted to sit at the other end of a table 4 m long. distance. reuters informed of that Macron refused the Russian test out of fear that his DNA might be harvested in the process, however Elise won’t confirm it,

Macron in his visit to Russia a few days after Scholz also declined to submit a Russian swab to a doctor at the German embassy in Moscow, instead of testing him.

“Any world leader who refuses to give a sample is clearly misinformed,” said Brian McDonald, a molecular geneticist who works as a DNA expert witness in Australia. “I would advise any world leader who is considering getting swabbed by a foreign government not to do so.”

While it would also be possible to obtain a DNA sample from the visiting world leader, for example, from a hair left in his hotel room or cutlery used for a meal, MacDonald said a PCR-like swab would have an important role. There is profit.

The difference is the amount and quality of the DNA, McDonald said: “So on a beverage container, you might get lucky and get enough, but you might not … A hair isn’t a very good source – it’s a must be at the appropriate stage of the life cycle to take root there.”

A swab, on the other hand, “is how reference samples are taken for forensic databases … You’re going to have a lot of DNA to do profiling and even genetic sequencing on a mouth or nasal swab.”

The kind of information that could be extracted from such a sample would be a predisposition to diseases that have a genetic component or family ties to those sampled, not to mention future uses of DNA that would be beyond current I am unpredictable.

Michel is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday for bilateral discussions. he will be First western leader to visit China Mass protests rocked the country in the biggest show of public disapproval of Beijing’s leaders since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.