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The arguments for and against developing a “genetic fingerprint” profile for all members of society

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AS Module 4 Essay - The arguments for and against developing a "genetic fingerprint" profile for all members of society. Genetic fingerprinting is a rapidly developing technique involving the cutting of DNA and using it to distinguish between individuals of the same species. This is useful because every individual produces a unique genetic fingerprint as we all have different DNA sequences. Several steps are undertaken in order to prepare a genetic fingerprint. The non-coding DNA provides the basis of a genetic fingerprint (Potter, 2001). Firstly, a DNA sample is taken from, for example; the blood, a hair root or a mouth swab. If there is not enough DNA in the sample, a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) may be done to produce more. This is where the enzyme, DNA polymerase is used to amplify a piece of DNA by in vitro enymatic replication (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymerase_chain_reaction, 02/03/2008). The next step would be to cut the DNA into pieces, and this is done by using the restriction endonuclease enzyme. ...read more.


This issue is still highly debatable today. The next use of genetic fingerprinting is in the diagnosis of inherited disorders. DNA fingerprinting is used to diagnose inherited disorders in both prenatal and newborn babies in hospitals around the world. These disorders may include cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, Huntington's disease, familial Alzheimer's, sickle cell anemia and many others (http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/AB/BA/DNA_Fingerprinting_Basics.html, 03/03/2008). Therefore keeping a genetic profile for everyone in the country would mean that doctors can detect any such disorders and would help them prepare the treatment well in advance. Whereas if doctors do not have such information about any disorders the child is likely to develop, it may be far too late to undergo any treatment to save the child. Another advantage is that prospective parents would know if their child would develop any disorder. However we must also consider that even though the baby or child is still too young to communicate, such health information such as an individual's genetic fingerprint is confidential and therefore we could argue that the parents have no right to access this information given that they have no consent. ...read more.


When the child's DNA does match that of the alleged father, we can prove a probability of 99% or greater for paternity (http://www.dna-bioscience.co.uk/paternity_exp.shtml, 03/03/2008). This could help settle law cases involving which parent should take the child during a divorce. The last use of genetic fingerprinting that I would like to write about is in personal identification. Since all organs and tissues of an individual contain the same genetic fingerprint, it is possible to identify someone who has died using this. This has already been put to some wide scale use, for example; the U.S. armed services have just begun a program to collect DNA fingerprints from all personnel for use later, in case they are needed to identify casualties or persons missing in action (http://www.accessexcellence.org/RC/AB/BA/DNA_Fingerprinting_Basics.html, 03/03/2008). In conclusion, I would be for the proposal of developing a genetic fingerprint profile for all members of society as I believe that the advantages both in the short run and long run outweigh the disadvantages. With continued research, many more uses of genetic fingerprints are guaranteed and creating a profile for society is the first step in achieving those goals. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The candidate answers the question reasonably well for the level I would expect them to be at. The text is presented in a concise way, but the paragraphs are quite close together and the text quite hard to read so ...

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Response to the question

The candidate answers the question reasonably well for the level I would expect them to be at. The text is presented in a concise way, but the paragraphs are quite close together and the text quite hard to read so I would have addressed this by increasing the line spacing and choosing a different font. The overall depth of the question and analysis is very well done.

Level of analysis

The introduction is very well done, and sets out the technique to genetic fingerprinting before diving into the pros and cons behind using the technique. The science behind the writing is very accurately explained, although the process could have been better presented in a bullet point form with a diagram to make the process clearer to the reader. The Candidate then goes on to explore different uses for the fingerprinting which is done to a very good level and a range of examples are provided. However to improve their mark, the candidate could include more negatives about the fingerprinting. The conclusion is adequate and rounds the essay off nicely.

Quality of writing

All grammar, spelling and punctuation are accurate. Rather than putting links in the middle of the text they should have been included in a footnote or bibliography so the text looks tidier.

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Reviewed by skatealexia 17/04/2012

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