Scientists are hoping to use the genetic information from Brewer and 1 million other American military veterans to study diabetes, cancer and other illnesses and understand how genes affect health.
“Why this is groundbreaking is the scale — 1 million people,” said Jeff Whittle, local site investigator at the Milwaukee VA for the program. “No other large group of people in a genetic cohort are primarily veterans who have been exposed to environmental stressors.”
Noting the fact stress can cause changes in genes, Whittle said the stressors veterans have undergone are unique including combat and exposure to depleted uranium or Agent Orange.
The hope is to gather 1 million genetic samples by 2020 or 2021.