Publication

Defusing the legal and ethical minefield of epigenetic applications in the military, defense, and security context

Citation:
Dalpé G, Huerne K, Dupras C, Cheung K, Palmour N, Winkler E, Alex K, Mehlman M, Holloway JW, Bunnik E, König H, Mansuy IM, Rots MG, Erwin C, Erler A, Libertini E, Joly Y. Defusing the legal and ethical minefield of epigenetic applications in the military, defense, and security context. J Law Biosci. 2023 Dec 13;10(2):lsad034. doi: 10.1093/jlb/lsad034. PMID: 38098975; PMCID: PMC10719446.
Authored By:
Dalpé G, Huerne K, Dupras C, Cheung K, Palmour N, Winkler E, Alex K, Mehlman M, Holloway JW, Bunnik E, König H, Mansuy IM, Rots MG, Erwin C, Erler A, Libertini E, Joly Y
Abstract:
Epigenetic research has brought several important technological achievements, including identifying epigenetic clocks and signatures, and developing epigenetic editing. The potential military applications of such technologies we discuss are stratifying soldiers’ health, exposure to trauma using epigenetic testing, information about biological clocks, confirming child soldiers’ minor status using epigenetic clocks, and inducing epigenetic modifications in soldiers. These uses could become a reality. This article presents a comprehensive literature review, and analysis by interdisciplinary experts of the scientific, legal, ethical, and societal issues surrounding epigenetics and the military. Notwithstanding the potential benefit from these applications, our findings indicate that the current lack of scientific validation for epigenetic technologies suggests a careful scientific review and the establishment of a robust governance framework before consideration for use in the military. In this article, we highlight general concerns about the application of epigenetic technologies in the military context, especially discrimination and data privacy issues if soldiers are used as research subjects. We also highlight the potential of epigenetic clocks to support child soldiers’ rights and ethical questions about using epigenetic engineering for soldiers’ enhancement and conclude with considerations for an ethical framework for epigenetic applications in the military, defense, and security contexts.
Published in:
Journal of Law and the Biosciences

More Publications

January 29, 2024

Scientific Reports

Differential recruitment of brain circuits during fear extinction in non-stressed compared to stress resilient animals

August 1, 2023

Journal of Psychopharmacology

Improving Translational Relevance in Preclinical Psychopharmacology (iTRIPP)

July 29, 2023

Frontiers in Neurology

Models and methods: a perspective of the impact of six IMI translational data-centric initiatives for Alzheimer’s disease and other neuropsychiatric disorders

July 6, 2023

Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Caring for Dementia Caregivers: Understanding Caregiver Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 19, 2023

Nature Reviews Neurology

Global synergistic actions to improve brain health for human development

April 20, 2023

Nature Mental Health

Machine learning-based identification of a psychotherapy-predictive electroencephalographic signature in PTSD