VA Department Asking for DNA Samples from a Million Veterans


What is a purple heart in the military

According to, the Veterans Affairs Department is aiming to collect DNA samples from a million veterans. The goal? Medical research. This will hopefully help researchers find treatments for diseases, and also create health plans in line with a person?s genetic makeup. So far, over 450,000 veterans have enrolled.

DNA Database Will Speed Up Research

Once completed, this collection of donated DNA will be the largest biorepository in the world, and it will allow scientists to have a large enough sample size to see results. According to Dr. Mary Brophy, who is the director of the VA?s biorepository, a big part of this is reducing the time it takes to get samples.

“If I want to do a study in Gulf War Illness, before I would have to go out and find all these patients with Gulf War Illness, do it myself, Then get the samples, store it and send it out,? she explained to This makes studying diseases and war-related issues time-consuming and effectively delays the development of potential treatments. So far the VA has been able to add about 100,000 samples to the database every year, meaning they will reach one million donations by 2022.

You Don’t Have to Give Blood to Contribute

If you?re a veteran, than giving your own DNA sample over to the VA would be one way to contribute to military donations. Many people who want to help out, though, aren?t actually veterans — or, they?d rather not hand over their DNA.

Luckily, there are a wide range of veterans charities out there, and people interested in getting involved can do so in a variety of ways. Many organizations, for example, will pick up clothing donations from your home if you?re not able to bring them in yourself (this can help keep 2 million tons of clothing out of dumps over the course of a year!).

Many donation centers can also accept important but less common donations. Have a walker you don?t use? What about tools meant for people who are vision-impaired? Many of these items can be re-used by charity organizations and given to the veterans who really need them. Still other organizations would like your time more than anything, whether it’s for delivering food or helping at a veterans service center!

If you’re interested in military donations, there are a ton of options for helping out. It doesn’t need to be DNA!