Dennis Normile reports:
When Yves Moreau, a bioinformatician at KU Leuven in Belgium, noticed a 2017 paper in Human Genetics that described the “male genetic landscape of China” based on a set of almost 38,000 Y-STR sequences, he saw a red flag. Y-STR stands for Y-chromosomal short tandem repeat polymorphism, bits of repetitive DNA often used in forensic investigations. Some of the samples came from Uyghurs and other minorities in China, and Moreau was skeptical that they had given informed consent for the use of their genetic data or understood that China might use it to profile their people. In June 2020, he asked the journal’s editors to retract the “indefensible” paper.
Springer Nature, its publisher, launched an investigation that is still ongoing.
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