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To: Multiple recipients of list HUM-MOLGEN <HUM-MOLGEN@NIC.SURFNET.NL>
Subject: ETHI: Military DNA banking
From: Hans Goerl <GENETHICS@delphi.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 1995 14:29:02 -0400

From: EXMOND DECRUZ <EDECRUZ@wis.riv.csu.edu.au>
Subject: Military DNA Banking

Message-id: <480BD263B02@wis.riv.csu.edu.au>
Organization: Charles Sturt University
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Dear Hans,

I am not familiar with the official reasons for "DNA banking" by the
US Military but there are perfectly good reasons for employing such a
DNA fingerprinting would be the primary use and is far superior to
any other identification methods available.  The possibility of 100%
identification is greatly enhanced in the "theatre of war" situation
where mangled corpses or bits of tissue material (even hair, saliva
etc) may be sufficient for identification by DNA fingerprinting.  The
purpose of a military interest in this may be for purely
rationalbenign purposes and perfectly acceptable to people like
myself who work in this area but also have ethical concerns.
As the US Military would not be interested in doing paternity or
lineage testing there would be no need for extensive testing of
relatives unless more than one individual from a family was serving.

Genetic information may also be misused however and perhaps this
would be your main concern.  I can foresee the army listing recruits
into categories based on potentially erroneous interpretation of
their gene complements or withdraming from service those at "risk"
with so-called "defective" genes.  Given the traditional secrecy of
the military establishment it would be difficult to monitor what
happens.  These negatives are a bit far off.  As I said before, there
are perfectly valid reasons for compiling a DNA bank and I
anticipated that military establishments everywhere would begin such
banks for identification purposes.


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