by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted August 30, 2007 in DNA Testing, DNA in General, Jobs Involving DNA
Service members of the US Armed Forces may risk their lives for their country but if they’ve got a disease-causing genetic mutation, they are shown the door. Karen Kaplan at the LA Times writes on a disturbing US armed forces policy to deny benefits to servicemen and women who have congenital or hereditary conditions unless they’ve already served 8 years.
Kathy Hudson of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University:
You could be in the military and be a six-pack-a-day smoker, and if you come down with emphysema, ‘That’s OK. We’ve got you covered. But if you happen to have a disease where there is an identified genetic contribution, you are screwed.
It’s an antiquated policy that was meant to prevent people from enlisting for health benefits knowing they would later develop a serious and/or life-threatening condition. Ironically, genetic discrimination against civilian employees in the federal government was banned in 2000. The same could happen to all insurance policy holders if the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007 isn’t passed into law but even if it is, it won’t apply to military personnel.
To keep their military patients from being denied health benefits, doctors are now advising their patients to avoid genetic testing of all forms, including private testing. Dr. Mark Nunes, who headed the Air Force Genetics Center’s DNA diagnostic laboratory at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi:
If someone called me up with regard to genetic testing, I had to say, ‘That might not be something you want to pursue.”
You could get court-martialed if it were revealed that you had sought medical treatment or testing outside the system.
This is shocking and dismaying. How soon will it be before the US armed forces (or any other country) begin genetic screening of recruits? As if it’s not already hard enough to get qualified people to serve. Who would want to join the military knowing they may not get the benefits they deserve, especially health benefits which is undeniably one of the most important.
For more on genetic discrimination against job applicants, see my previous post – Want a job? Submit your DNA.
More on genetic discrimination in the military:
NB: The 81st Medical Group operating out of Keesler Air Force Base has the only medical genetics center in the Department of Defense.
One Big Happy Family Genome...
Navigenics Introduces Physician Portal and Annual Insight Service...
What’s In Your DNA? #19...
Eye on DNA Links for 1 August 2007...
DNA Passports for Canadians...
DNA Network Members Discuss Personal Genomics Service Providers 23andMe, deCODEme, and Navigenics...
Dr. Robert Marion on Complex Genetic Diseases...
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
Search Eye on DNA
- Genetic Genealogy on Faces of America
- DNA Network Tweet Cloud
- Genetics = Real Science
- Larry David’s DNA Test
- Lopez Tonight First Late-Night Show to Offer DNA Testing
- American Genes Don’t Exist
- Knowledge about Genetic Risk is Power or is it Fear?
- Murderer Gets Reduced Sentence Because His Genes Made Him Do It
- Video: Knome’s Ari Kiirikki Speaks with Medgadget
- DNA Toys: Ben 10 and Digimon Digivice
- 100 Facts About DNA
- Salaries for Jobs in Genetics
- Fetal Gender DNA Tests Answer Common Pregnancy Question...Or Not
- How To Determine Paternity Without A DNA Test
- What does DNA mean to you?
- Eye on DNA Interview: Dr. Tzung-Fu Hsieh of RedTracer DNA Test for the Red Hair Gene, MC1R
- Books About DNA: The Crime of Reason by Robert B. Laughlin
- Genetically Modified Organisms Bring in the Cash
- Navigenics Introduces Physician Portal and Annual Insight Service
- People Who’ve Had Their Genomes Sequenced
09/29/2009 07:03 am
- Larry David’s DNA Test
11/17/2009 02:52 am
- 23andMe DNA Tests for $399, Down From $999
09/10/2008 04:33 am
- Crazy Genetic Marketing Ideas
07/05/2008 09:14 pm
- Parenting Children Using Genetic Tests
05/18/2009 02:09 am
- Business of DNA
- DNA @ Google Answers
- DNA and Disease
- DNA and Genealogy
- DNA and the Law
- DNA Around the World
- DNA Fun
- DNA in General
- DNA Inventions and Gadgets
- DNA Lab Talk
- DNA Podcasts and Videos
- DNA Quotes and Excerpts
- DNA Testing
- Gene Therapy
- Genetic Engineering
- Genetically Modified Foods and Organisms
- Jobs Involving DNA
- Personalities with DNA
- Polls About DNA
- January 2010
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- John Hawks Anthropology Weblog
- Autism Vox
- Duncan Riley
- HUGO Matters
- Discovering Biology in a Digital World
- Alltop Science
- The Daily Transcript