DNA Technologies

1012 Words5 Pages
The structure of DNA was discovered in 1953 and revealed to the world by James Watson and Francis Crick.1 Since then, there has been a whirlwind of activity and discovery in the fields associated with DNA. We have found that DNA is not only a set of instructions for the body, but that it also contains a lot of information about the individual who “owns” the DNA. As it is rapidly becoming cheaper and easier to process DNA, it is becoming more difficult to make sure that there is adequate legislature to protect members of society.
Most genes are actually shared by all of humanity. In fact, 98% of human DNA is also shared with chimpanzees.2 However, some repeating units are unique and they can tell us much information about the individual
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Media such as mystery and crime television programs have made some procedures used by forensic scientists public knowledge so it would be easy for the perpetrator to know the sorts of evidence he could use to frame the innocent party. As seen in the Lydia Fairchild chimera case, DNA is seen by some as “100 percent foolproof”9 even though it can only tell us the probability that the DNA belongs to a certain person rather than someone else.10 Sometimes it is not definitive like in rare cases of chimerism and also in multiples, for example twins and triplets. It is important that people, especially people with legal authority like judges, remember that DNA is not necessarily perfect and to consider all possibilities and evidence before coming to a conclusion about a case.
Industries that use DNA technologies are rapidly growing and changing the ways that we can use information obtained from DNA. Currently, we use it for tests including whether people are related to one another and whether to exonerate or charge suspects of criminal acts. We are able to do these because of repeating combinations of DNA bases that are unique to an individual. As technology is developing so fast, it is important that people in authority, for example judges and politicians, make sure that there are laws in place that protect the rights and safety of citizens in terms of how their DNA information is used and stored. They also need to make sure that they consider DNA as a piece of
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