Pentagon's Collection of Russian Genetic Samples Rattles Kremlin (Russian TV News)
Just another in a long string of weird and hostile behavior aimed at Russia, from the peace-lovin' USA
The Pentagon is collecting DNA from White Russian citizens - are sinister motives at work? Report taken from Russian news agency Vesti with transcript below.
The U.S. Air Force has been collecting the samples from Russian, but rejects DNA from Ukrainians.
What could be the reasons for this? Russians fear the potential of biological weapons.
And now news from the US, one of the most read on the Internet today. The Pentagon admitted to collecting biological materials of Russians. Vladimir Putin claimed this two days ago at a meeting with human rights activists but many of them didn't believe his words.
The US military department now confirmed the fact but tried to justify themselves, saying they've been collecting biological materials in Russia solely for medical purposes. But is it true? Why is the research in St. Petersburg led by a US citizen? And we did find such a scientific center. Is Russia facing a biological threat? Alexei Petrov has the details.
The Pentagon recognizes that the US Air Force did hold a tender, hoping to acquire the necessary biological materials. The military is especially interested in everything related to the way joints work. The main requirements for the donor are to be from Russia and have no serious diseases.
The military says they are conducting studies of the musculoskeletal system to identify various biomarkers associated with injuries. Beau Downey
: "The request didn't specify the origin of the samples. But similar samples were required to continue the study. Since the supplier initially provided samples from Russia, suitable for the initial group of diseases, the control group of the samples should also be of Russian origin."
An excerpt from the site describing the tender conditions is quite confusing. Would you consider samples from Ukraine? No, all samples (Synovial tissue and RNA samples) shall be collected from Russia and must be Caucasian. The Government will not consider tissue samples from Ukraine.
Experts are confident that genetic research is the future of world science. In the labs of the Moscow State University cell research is conducted every day. There is a whole databank of various biological materials here. Such work is carried out around the world, usually for scientific purposes.
But it would be naive to think that secret projects are limited to sci-fi movies. The project of Russian scientists, Noah's Ark: Samples are taken only with the patient's consent. Everything is transparent. A real breakthrough in the treatment of many diseases.
"This test tube actually contains DNA. It is essentially a part of the genome. You can estimate the chances of getting a certain disease."
"But what if such a research falls into the hands of foreign intelligence or terrorists?"
Pyotr Kamensky, Noah's Ark Lead Researcher:
"Theoretically, this information can be used for some kind of military purpose. For example, you have a group of people who all have a certain characteristic protein. This happens quite often.
And if you find a certain molecule, which specifically neutralizes this protein, it will have a bad effect on these people. However, it will not affect people from other ethnic groups."
Similar research is being carried out in Saint-Petersburg. The journalists have already noticed that the Genome Russia project is led by a US citizen. The University administration assures that Stephen James O'Brien is a renowned scientist and not a spy.
Ilya Dementyev, Saint-Petersburg University:
"He is one of the leading scientists in the area. It is common practice that prominent scientists are invited to supervise research which is a priority for the host organization.
The fact that he leads this research doesn't mean that he can take advantage of the data, transfer it to some place outside of Russia or give it to other people."
It is hard to imagine what will happen if biological weapons are used. For example, if some substance ends up in the water supply system, it can cause illness on a mass scale. The military as well as terrorists are interested in such research. But there is no reason to panic for a multinational country such as Russia.
"Such a weapon is theoretically possible to create, but it can only work with an isolated ethnic group. One test tube will not destroy Russia, that's for sure, because it's multiethnic. We have the Yakuts, the Evenks. You can't find a molecular killer for all of them. I can't imagine how to do this even in theory."
Vladimir Kharkov, Scientist:
"Russia's population, Russians included, are mostly Caucasian. If the Americans create a biological weapon against the Russians, it will kill the Europeans and them as well."
Scientists emphasize that this kind of research should be performed under strict control. Leaks of such information can have unpredictable consequences.
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