English 165LB: Literature & Biotechnology (W11)

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Advisory group suggests Pentagon map genes of all personnel

Posted by rraley on January 14, 2011

“The technology for sequencing human DNA is advancing so rapidly and the cost is dropping so quickly that the number of individuals whose DNA has been mapped is expected to grow “from hundreds of people (current) to millions of people (probably within three years),” according to a new report to the Pentagon (pdf) from the JASON defense science advisory panel.  The Defense Department should begin to take advantage of the advances in “personal genomics technology” by collecting genetic information on all military personnel, the panel advised….

For military purposes, it will be up to the Department of Defense “to determine which phenotypes… have special relevance to military performance and medical cost containment” and then presumably to select for those.  “These phenotypes might pertain to short- and long-term medical readiness, physical and medical performance, and response to drugs, vaccines, and various environmental exposures…. More specifically, one might wish to know about phenotypic responses to battlefield stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, the ability to tolerate conditions of sleep deprivation, dehydration, or prolonged exposure to heat, cold, or high altitude, or the susceptibility to traumatic bone fracture, prolonged bleeding, or slow wound healing.”
[From Secrecy News; January 13, 2011]

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