Dna Profiling Essay, Research Paper
The testing and profiling of DNA in recent years has become 99.9% accurate in identifying a person, making it the most precise and most controversial means of identifying a person.
DNA profiling involves the sampling of an individual’s blood to give an accurate identification of that individual. It is much like each person s fingerprints. As no two individuals fingerprints are the same neither is DNA. With the only exception being identical twins who can share the same DNA pattern.
DNA profiles have revolutionized criminal investigations and have become a powerful tool in the identification of individuals in criminal cases as well as paternal cases. Since the 1980 s, DNA testing has solved thousands of cases of felonies throughout the world and has established with certainty if there is a reasonable doubt between a suspect and a crime scene. It has also aided in confirming sexual assault cases.
DNA is the genetic makeup, which is the hereditary blueprint given to us by our parents. A person inherits an equal amount of DNA from each parent. DNA testing gives us the ability to test from a wide range of samples including: blood, hair, saliva, tissue biopsy and more. In many cases only a mynute amount is needed to analyze.
The Federal Government is considering introducing a DNA database system called CrimTrac in the future. It will contain samples from all individuals convicted of major offenses. The state government is also considering the mandatory collection of DNA samples. The CrimTrac system will aid police in solving crimes with the technology of the database. But, the flip side to this innovative technology is that no one will be allowed not to partake in the mandatory sampling process. Entire communities, cities and towns will be made to give individuals samples of DNA. Screening of this nature, that doesn t target only criminals, overturns the assumption of innocence.
It is impossible to take DNA samples of everyone and enable individuals to also keep their identity anonymous. So, as well as giving a DNA sample, people would also be photographed and possibly fingerprinted. CrimTrac will contain a database full of photos and fingerprints of innocent citizens, which doesn t set well for most of the general public.
Another problem the system presents is the how easily it can be corrupted. Criminals could substitute a different DNA sample for their own. Or a corrupt police officer could easily frame an innocent person by taking a sample from an individual s deposit into the DNA bank and deliberately introduce it into the crime scene.
Society in general needs to ask themselves whether they should permit a national database such as CrimTrac to identify citizens. If you think about it, in a time of crisis, when it would call for a person to be unidentifiable or to have another identity, you would not be able to have any sort of anonymity. Throughout history people have had to flee for their lives because of being a certain race or religion, such as the Jews in WWII or the Armenian Genocide. Back then people were able to escape without being killed by creating false identities through the process of obtaining false documents. If a national DNA database had existed back then, most likely none could have survived.
The most important question we can ask ourselves is how we can use this new technology and still safeguard our fundamental rights to civil liberty?
There may be a solution for DNA profiling. In the genetic medical field, DNA testing is already widely used and available. There is a specific genetic disorder; called Sachs disease that affects children of the Ashkenazi Jewish community. These were the same Jews that survived the concentration camps of WWII. They have made their business to know the risks of DNA testing. They have sought to develop safeguards to prevent the misuse of genetic information. Their main goal is allow individuals to be anonymous when getting tested. This concept could also be adapted to CrimTrac DNA Profiling.
The idea of a Genetics Broker that would allow communication between police and the database could solve the problem. Individuals could present themselves to the broker and submit DNA samples after giving consent. The broker could then collect the DNA samples for forensics and then present them to police.
DNA samples would not be identified by a client s name, only with code numbers so their identity would stay ambiguous. The police would not know the identity of the individuals from whom the samples were taken. Only the broker would be able to link the sample code numbers to the client s identity. After an agreed time period, the broker would destroy the existing DNA link that was given to police for testing. As a result of the DNA testing, if the police wish to contact a client during that time period the broker would reveal the identity of the client to Police. If however, the time period in which the Police could obtain information had already expired, the broker breaks the connection, and the police would be left with a random sample of unidentifiable DNA because it would only have a code and no name on the sample.
Of course the fool-proofing of all this safeguarding falls into the hands of individuals working at the database that hopefully won t be corrupt themselves. All information about individuals should be done over a secured Internet site and very little conversations should be allowed in regards to a person s DNA profile. It would easy enough to simply pay someone off at the Genetic Brokerage firm or the DNA database Firm and obtain a person s DNA information or contanimate or corrupt a person s profile. All of these scenarios are speculation because so far there has not been any reported case of any screenings or tests being compromised. However, a large database, such as a nationwide system has not been set up as of yet. The government would have to take great precautions in keeping all information secure to insure the publics approval.