There’s a lot of reasons why you should probably chuck that DNA kit you got for Christmas in the trash. That’s doubly true for military personnel, the Pentagon warned in an internal memo.
The memo, which was initially obtained by Yahoo News, notes that mail-in consumer DNA kits, like 23andme or Ancestry, could pose a security risk. “Exposing sensitive genetic information to outside parties poses personal and operational risks to Services members,” the memo reads.
“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.” The memo also alleges that some consumer DNA kit companies had been targeting service members with discounts.
The existence of the December 20 memo was confirmed to the New York Times by a Pentagon spokesperson. Besides potential security risks (which the memo didn’t get into), consumer genetic tests have higher stakes for military personnel.
The laws that protect civilian workers from health insurers and employers from genetic discrimination don’t apply to military members, who must report medical issues.