In a memo co-signed by the Defense Department's top intelligence official, the Pentagon has advised the members of the military not to use DNA kits, as they believe that the companies collecting their information could trigger a security threat.

Companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry sell testing kits which allow the buyers to receive a DNA profile by sending a cheek swab or saliva sample and the results include information about their ancestry, possible medical risk details and also can identify previously unknown relatives.

The vulnerability

While such production and purchase rate is booming, it raised concerns over ethical and legal issues as some manufacturer have shared the data with law enforcement or sold these sensitive details to third parties, the memo added. It was also revealed that "Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Service members."

The memo, signed by Joseph D Kernan, the undersecretary of defence for intelligence, and James N Stewart, the assistant secretary of defence for manpower on December 20, clearly stated that the DNA kit manufacturers are targetting military personnel by flashy discounts as a bet.

DNA
DNA test kit Pixabay

Risk of using DNA kit

As reported by Yahoo News, the memo which has been distributed widely within the US Defense Department, mentioned that "These [direct-to-consumer] genetic tests are largely unregulated and could expose personal and genetic information, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission."

However, this memo has shown how the genetic profiles could trigger security issues and how health information could pose a risk to military personnel, who need to reveal the medical issues.

Highly popular DNA kits of 2019