DNA Fingerprinting1 Essay

This essay has a total of 1029 words and 5 pages.

DNA Fingerprinting1

DNA Fingerprinting

DNA Fingerprinting is also referred to as DNA profiling and DNA typing. It was first
developed as an identification technique in England in 1985. The original use was to
expose the presence of any genetic diseases. About three years later it became used to
identify criminals through the analysis of genetic material and to settle paternity
disputes. It is still used for those reasons today.

The DNA fingerprinting process is called gel electrophoresis. It is a process that can
sort pieces of DNA according to its size. The process is done by taking samples of DNA
from the crime scene and comparing it with samples from the accused. Samples are taken
from biological materials like blood, semen, hair, and saliva. In the testing process the
DNA samples are first entered into the wells in a gel like substance called Agarose. The
gel is placed between two electrodes, one negatively charged and the other positively
charged. The wells in the Agarose are inserted on the negative side because DNA has a
negative charge. Molecules of DNA then travel in lanes toward the positive side. Small
molecules will travel farther than the bigger ones, because they have an easier time
moving through the gel. So the molecules will then be assorted according to their size.
Next, the gel is X-rayed to see the parallel bands (showed by black bars on the film) in
each lane. The separated molecules of DNA form a pattern of parallel bands that show the
structure of the DNA. The pattern should never change for one person. In a court of law,
the results of a DNA fingerprinting examination can be used to convict or acquit an
accused person. If the accused's DNA matches the one at the crime scene then that person
could be convicted.

Critics believe that a DNA fingerprint may not yet be reliable enough to use in the court
system. They question how accurate a DNA fingerprint is and the cost of it. They believe
that it is not very accurate because only a segment of DNA is used and not the complete
strand. A DNA fingerprint may not be unique. The confirmation of the uniqueness has not
been confirmed yet. Also the process is done in private laboratories so the exact testing
standards may not be followed and standardized quality controls may not be used. Human
error can have false results if they do not use the exact testing standards with quality
controls. The testing is very expensive and if the accused can't pay for the testing then
they will not be able to defend themselves using the results of the test. Also a question
is, will people misuse the process? A misuse that scares them is the unauthorized use of
the database that will be created with the increasing use of the DNA fingerprint. An
example of an unauthorized use is identifying individuals with a genetic disease by
looking up their personal profile without their permission.

Katie Hoskins at the age of 15 found the body of her murdered mother, Glenda Hoskins,
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