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Arguments for and Against Development of Genetic Finger Printing.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Arguments for and Against Development of Genetic Finger Printing The fingerprinting process uses enzymes to cut out specific sequences of DNA. The DNA is arrange in length order and labelled with a radioactive marker. These emit x-rays, when the sample is photographed the markers can be seen. This produces the 'fingerprint' - a series of black lines corresponding to the DNA sequences present. Initially the DNA is removed from the sample cells by chemical methods, and the two strands of the double helix are separated. Restriction enzymes are then added. These identify a particular sequence and cut it away. This produces a mixture of free lengths of DNA. The next stage is to sort these sequences into length order. This is done using agarose gel electrophoresis. DNA is a charged molecule, so in an applied electric field it moves towards an electrode. The agarose gel slows down the larger molecules, but the shorter DNA strands move faster, so the process arranges the sequences in order. Acrylamide gel is sometimes used in a similar way for higher resolution ordering. Once the DNA sequences are ordered, chemical probes are added to the sample; like the restriction enzymes, these each select a particular sequence, and bind to it.

Middle

When processed through Virginia's DNA databank, the DNA sample of her assailant collected years earlier had produced a match or "hit" with DNA of an inmate in a Virginia prison. As reflected by her compelling testimony before the National Institute of Justice's National Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence, that DNA match gave Debbie final proof that her assailant would not "come back" for her, as he had threatened. What is more important is that it allowed her to begin healing. This was taken from a web site compiled of DNA conviction success stories.8 The procedure for taking a sample of DNA is less invasive than that required for the removal of blood. The police already possess a vast volume of information relating to the public. The National Crime Information Centre Computer in the United States contains files relating to thirty two million Americans and receives approximately two million queries each day. The availability of a DNA fingerprint to the police should be seen in the context of the personal information that is already held by outside agencies. Such as mortgage lenders and insurance companies. If we are prepared to do provide it to outside agencies, why can we not trust it to the public authorities?

Conclusion

There is considerable potential for abuse of information that is so private; the person giving the sample will probably not know its contents. Every citizen, some from the moment of their birth, would be treated as a potential criminal.152 There is a serious risk that genetic evidence will be used to the exclusion of material that might prove the innocence of the suspect. It is likely that more crimes will be prosecuted because of largely circumstantial evidence. Despite this, there is the possibility that not only the police, but also the jury, will be blinded by science. It seems unlikely that juries will be able to comprehend, or more importantly, to question, the genetic information that is yielded by the database. The irony is that forensic evidence has been instrumental in establishing the miscarriages of British justice in the 1970s, but might now serve to create miscarriages of its own. I conclude, that despite this last argument given I feel that it would be beneficial to our society to have a genetic database for use in criminal trails. DNA is just another important piece of evidence just like ballistics or any other department. I feel that a jury requires full evidence of a case to make a subjective decision. Therefore, despite some people feeling like big brother is just trying to monitor if it solves one murder or one kidnapping I feel it is worth it.

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