The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has invested $25 million into a project to identify the DNA structure of American infants entitled the 2013 Genomic Sequencing and Newborn Screening Disorders (GSNSD) research program.
The initial concerns of the GSNSD are the ethical, legal and social implications of using infant genetic information for scientific study.This endeavor is being facilitated with academic institutions in cities:
• San Francisco
• Chapel Hill
• Kansas City
The decoding of infant DNA, called genome sequencing, will create a map of each individual child’s genetic make-up to identify health risks that could develop in childhood or later in life.
Currently, an estimated 4 million US infants born annually have their heel pricked for a blood sample that is tested for 30 rare diseases as part of a national health initiative. the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is endeavoring to collect the DNA of all children to be stored in case of a future arrest or circumstance wherein the use of their DNA would be pertinent or necessary for involvement in criminal activity and conviction.
DHS estimates that 1 million people are subject to this intrusive collection because of incarceration and non-criminal reasons. Children who are caught in the criminal system have their DNA stored along with adult offenders.
Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asserts: “Collecting DNA from anyone detained by the government for any number of non-criminal reasons – especially juveniles – seems to be yet another step on the slippery slope of collecting DNA from everyone in the United States, no matter their status.”
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