A Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee has apparently been reading too many science fiction novels warning of DNA weapons.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., warned U.S. citizens not to use DNA testing sites, saying their data could be used to create bioweapons to target an individual or ethnic group.
“You can’t have a discussion about this without talking about privacy and the protection of commercial data because expectations of privacy have degraded over the last 20 years,” Crow stated during a Colorado panel discussion. “Young folks actually have very little expectation of privacy, that’s what the polling and the data show.”
“People will very rapidly spit into a cup and send it to 23andMe and get really interesting data about their background,” he added.
The Colorado congressman noted governments may take someone’s DNA, which includes their medical profile, and target a biological weapon to kill that person or take them off a battlefield. He added that genetic test sites like 23andMe can sell a person’s DNA. The company has previously denied selling customer DNA, according to a report in The Epoch Times.
It seems absurd that a foreign government would spend the time and money to make and then deliver a biological weapon targeted at one person, based on DNA submitted to testing sites. How realistic is it to envision China, North Korea or Iran buying the DNA of a random burger flipper or customer service agent, create a custom biological weapon to kill them and then ship it to that individual in the U.S?
The mostly middle class and rural customers who submit spit for DNA analysis are the least likely people to be targeted by rogue sovereign states. Should political leaders and top military brass be worried about the possibility, though?
Probably not, according to experts in the field.
Russia claimed in March that U.S.-funded labs in Ukraine were creating ethnic-specific biological weapons, presumably targeting Russians.
“It can be said with a high degree of probability that one of the objectives of the United States and their allies is the creation of bio-agents capable of selectively hitting various ethnic groups of the population,” claimed Igor Kirillov in a March 10 article published by a Russian news agency. Kirillov heads the Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops of the Russian Armed Forces.
Spokesmen for both the Defense and State Departments have denied the U.S. is involved with biological weapons research in Ukraine. Scientists at the time further dismissed the notion of creating weapons from DNA that could target an individual or ethnic group, according to a Newsweek report.
“This claim belongs purely in the realm of science fiction!” declared RMIT University’s Associate Dean of biosciences and food technology, Oliver Jones. “Humans are just too genetically similar to find something that would affect only certain people and not others.”
“Modern DNA testing can, at best, only tell you if your ancestry is likely to have come from a specific region such as Europe or sub-Saharan Africa, not specific countries,” he added.
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