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Researchers Urge DoD to Go Genomic

Dan Froomkin at The Huffington Post says that "as if the Pentagon wasn't sitting on enough data already," a "secretive, highly influential group of scientists" urges the Department of Defense to collect whole-genome sequences for all military personnel. In a report released in December, "The $100 Genome: Implications for the DoD," the research team known as "JASON" says that sequencing costs will soon no longer be a burden, and since the "DoD has a large, well-defined population in generally good health, together with their medical health records," the agency is "well-positioned to capitalize on personal genomics technologies and … could facilitate valuable longitudinal studies correlating genotype and phenotype." Further, JASON adds, DoD genomic data could help researchers unravel genotype-phenotype connections complicated by epigenetic and microbiomic complexities in the future. Such genomic considerations "will offer additional opportunities for improving the health and enhancing the performance of military personnel," JASON says. Froomkin adds that the team's report "also ominously and vaguely alludes to the possible weaponization of genetic information," which when considered with JASON's projections of gene-mapping for improved military capabilities, "sounds like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel."

HT: NPR's The Two-Way Blog

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