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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 20:58:16 -0400

From: Marcel Kuiper <rchz103@KCL.AC.UK>
Subject: Re: Military DNA banking

In response to the message of Hans Goerl I would like to say the following:
in principle there is no difference between the storage of blood samples and
any other records, like dental records, if used for identification purposes.

Like with any storage of information, I think the important thing is that
access to it and handling of it is done carefully and that the system is
transparent for all parties involved.

The only problem might be the refusal of military personnel to have their
blood taken since this can only be done with an invasive technique which
compromises the right to refuse manipulation with one's body. However it
seems from Hans' mail that two Marines have already been court-martialled
for refusing to have a sample taken.

The advantage of genetic information is that it is the most accurate method
of establishing someone's identity, independent of the state of the body
(as long as DNA is extractable!). The problem with obtaining genetic infor-
mation from relatives is that you will have to have some other means of
identification to limit the number of relatives to take samples from, which
in practice might be difficult in the most extreme of cases.

Provided that this programme is well managed I do not see major problems
with it.


Marcel Kuiper
King's College School of Medicine & Dentistry
Department of Molecular Medicine

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