DNA and Crime Investigation Essay

2149 Words 9 Pages
DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid, which is found in almost all living things. DNA serves as a code for the creation and maintenance of new cells within an organism. Within humans, it is found in almost every cell. Although most of our DNA is found within the nucleus of our cells as nuclear DNA, a very small amount of our DNA is also found within the mitochondria as mitochondrial DNA. Because mitochondrial DNA is generally not used for solving crimes, for the purpose of this paper it will be disregarded.
DNA is a long curved structure, made up of pairs of four specific bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine, is the repository of a code from which all of our cells are made. The code is made up of base pairs which look like the
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Although DNA was initially observed by Frederich Miescher, a German biochemist near the end of the nineteenth century, the key to the structure of DNA was not discovered until almost a hundred years later. It was at that time that science realized the importance of DNA to the study of biology.
In 1953 four scientists: James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin completed a DNA model which they created using observed X-ray diffraction patterns. This model showed how the structure of DNA was able to transmit genetic information from parents to their offspring.
The work of these four people led to a complete restructuring of the beliefs of the scientific community regarding genetic information. Their initial word led to further work which encompassed their hypothesis of how DNA replicates itself. From this work came the modern technologies of DNA fingerprinting and sequencing.
DNA fingerprinting is a technique that is used to determine how likely it is whether genetic material came from a specific person or family group. Since 99% of human DNA is identical, that means that it is only 1% of our DNA which is different, and it is that 1% that we look at when we are attempting to determine the origin of a DNA sample.
Enzymes are applied to DNA to break it into smaller pieces which are called restriction endonucleases. These restriction endonucleases become…