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It sounds like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel, but it's not.

A new report from a secretive, highly influential group of scientists is urging the Department of Defense to begin collecting and mapping the full genome of all military personnel -- a move that could well give the Pentagon the ability to select for certain genetic predispositions.

Noting the dramatic decrease in the cost of fully mapping individuals' genomes, the report suggests that some traits relevant to war-fighting "are likely to have a strong genetic component, for which better understanding may lead to improved military capabilities."

What traits -- or "phenotypes" -- are we talking about here? The report, which was web-published on Thursday by Steven Aftergood on his Secrecy News blog, explains:
These phenotypes might pertain to short- and long-term medical readiness, physical and mental performance, and response to drugs, vaccines, and various environmental exposures, all of which will have different features in a military context. More specifically, one might wish to know about phenotypic responses to battlefield stress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, the ability to tolerate conditions of sleep deprivation, dehydration, or prolonged exposure to heat, cold, or high altitude, or the susceptibility to traumatic bone fracture, prolonged bleeding, or slow wound healing.
As if the Pentagon wasn't sitting on enough data already, the report envisions a huge new database (more likely than not run by some massive defense contractor). "The DoD will benefit by organizing personnel data into phenotypes of relevance to the military, then correlating those phenotypes with genetic information," it says.

The report also ominously and vaguely alludes to the possible weaponization of genetic information. "It may be beneficial to know the genetic identities of an adversary," the report says.