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DNA in Forensics

DNA research has led to many interesting developments in the field of practical law. Beyond standard fingerprinting, Forensic Scientists can now use all forms of bodily excretions to identify physical presence. The process, known as genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling allows forensic investigations to make more determinative judgments about the evidence presented.

Developed in 1984 by a British scientist named Sir Alec Jeffreys, DNA profiling has allowed for the capture of many otherwise undetectable felons, as well as cleared many innocent victims from wrongful conviction.

DNA profiling begins with samples taken from the crime scene. Once suspects are established, their DNA is extracted in a very small amount called a 'reference sample'. The DNA from the scene are then compare to the reference samples in an attempt to find genetic matches. The DNA itself can be analyzed in on of several different ways. These include 'Restriction fragment length polymorphism' (RFLP) analyses, 'polymerase chain reaction' (PCR) analyses, 'short tandem repeats' (STR) analyses, Mitochondrial analyses and Y-chromosone analyses.

Today's world is incorporated with DNA databases. Although both private and public ones exist, most (and certainly the larger ones) are publicly operated. The two largest databases belong to the USA and the United Kingdom, raising the question of ethical governance of people in relation to control of personal information.


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