Pentagon warns military against use of commercial DNA kits
Senior US Pentagon officials have instructed members of the armed forces to refrain from taking home DNA tests. The tests have been marketed as holiday gifts during the Christmas season. Popular companies include ancestry.com and 23 and me. NBC news reports that in a Dec 20 memo Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Joseph Kernan expressed concern that DNA testing companies were targeting military members with discounts and other undisclosed incentives.
The memo also cautioned the validity of the tests, as they were not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, they were unregulated, posing risks of inaccuracy, tracking of people without their knowledge, use of genetic information for medical purposes without and mass surveillance. Such risks were higher for military personnel and affected national security.
Public interest bodies such as Center for Medicine in the Public Interest have previously warned about the privacy risks of DNA testing.