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Can DNA profiling identify the source of a sample with absolute certainty? Because any two human genomes differ at about 3 million sites, no two persons (except identical twins) have the same DNA sequence. Unique identification with DNA profiling is therefore possible if enough sites of variation are examined. However, the systems used today examine only a few sites of variation. Nonetheless, even with today’s technology, which uses three to five loci, a match between two DNA patterns can be considered strong evidence that the two samples came from the same source. DNA profiling in criminal cases has been a useful tool in establishing both guilt and innocence. Originally, DNA databases contained only the profiles of convicted felons. Over time, however, law enforcement agencies have expanded the collection and use of DNA profiles, and these new policies are causing controversies, once again illustrating how the availability and use of genetic technology is often ahead of consensus on how and when this technology should be used. One of these new policies is postarrest DNA collection. At this writing, 18 U.S. states as well as the federal government allow the collection of DNA samples after an arrest but before conviction. These profiles become part of the state’s DNA database, which is often searched for evidence in cold cases. Courts across the country have ruled for and against the use of such samples. In 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the collection of DNA samples from someone who has been arrested but not convicted is unconstitutional and violates an individual’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The case began when a DNA sample was taken from Alonzo Jay King, Jr., who was arrested in 2009 for assault. In a database search, the DNA profile matched that taken from a 2003 unsolved rape. Based on the results of the database search, the man was sentenced to life in prison. The rape conviction was reversed, and the case was sent back to a lower court. As a result, some 16,000 DNA profiles collected postarrest but preconviction since 2009 cannot be used pending appeal of this decision. Before the court decision, postarrest DNA profiles were used in 65 arrests that resulted in 34 convictions, with an additional 12 cases pending. Supporters of postarrest DNA profiling claim that taking a DNA sample by a cheek swab is noninvasive and no different from taking someone’s fingerprints. Opponents claim that because DNA samples can be used to determine much more than a DNA profile, they are a threat to privacy, and that because minorities are more likely to be arrested, the practice is discriminatory. Would you object if you were arrested for a minor offense, such as a traffic violation, and ordered to provide a DNA sample?

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Human Heredity: Principles and Iss...

11th Edition
Michael Cummings
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305251052

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Human Heredity: Principles and Iss...

11th Edition
Michael Cummings
Publisher: Cengage Learning
ISBN: 9781305251052
Chapter 14, Problem 2CS
Textbook Problem
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Can DNA profiling identify the source of a sample with absolute certainty? Because any two human genomes differ at about 3 million sites, no two persons (except identical twins) have the same DNA sequence. Unique identification with DNA profiling is therefore possible if enough sites of variation are examined. However, the systems used today examine only a few sites of variation. Nonetheless, even with today’s technology, which uses three to five loci, a match between two DNA patterns can be considered strong evidence that the two samples came from the same source.

DNA profiling in criminal cases has been a useful tool in establishing both guilt and innocence. Originally, DNA databases contained only the profiles of convicted felons. Over time, however, law enforcement agencies have expanded the collection and use of DNA profiles, and these new policies are causing controversies, once again illustrating how the availability and use of genetic technology is often ahead of consensus on how and when this technology should be used. One of these new policies is postarrest DNA collection.

At this writing, 18 U.S. states as well as the federal government allow the collection of DNA samples after an arrest but before conviction. These profiles become part of the state’s DNA database, which is often searched for evidence in cold cases. Courts across the country have ruled for and against the use of such samples.

In 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that the collection of DNA samples from someone who has been arrested but not convicted is unconstitutional and violates an individual’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The case began when a DNA sample was taken from Alonzo Jay King, Jr., who was arrested in 2009 for assault. In a database search, the DNA profile matched that taken from a 2003 unsolved rape. Based on the results of the database search, the man was sentenced to life in prison. The rape conviction was reversed, and the case was sent back to a lower court. As a result, some 16,000 DNA profiles collected postarrest but preconviction since 2009 cannot be used pending appeal of this decision. Before the court decision, postarrest DNA profiles were used in 65 arrests that resulted in 34 convictions, with an additional 12 cases pending.

Supporters of postarrest DNA profiling claim that taking a DNA sample by a cheek swab is noninvasive and no different from taking someone’s fingerprints. Opponents claim that because DNA samples can be used to determine much more than a DNA profile, they are a threat to privacy, and that because minorities are more likely to be arrested, the practice is discriminatory.

Would you object if you were arrested for a minor offense, such as a traffic violation, and ordered to provide a DNA sample?

Summary Introduction

To determine: Whether an individual would object if one was arrested for a minor offense such as traffic violation, and ordered to provide a DNA sample.

Introduction: DNA sample of an individual is collected to construct its DNA profile. DNA profiles may be used as important tools for identification. Shorter nucleotide sequences, known as short tandem repeats, are used by law enforcement agencies to develop DNA profiles. Criminal cases and other cases such as paternity cases use DNA profiles. Human evolution can also be studied with the help of DNA profiles.

Explanation of Solution

The method of DNA profiling is based on the fact that there are small differences between the DNA of people. DNA profiles are mainly used in the forensics to identify criminals by collecting the samples of their DNA and creating DNA profiles. These profiles are then compared to identify the criminal.

The analysis of a DNA sample is required for major crimes such as murder to identify the murderer, but a minor offense such as the violation of the traffic rules do not need the collection of a DNA sample and the construction of a DNA profile. Keeping the DNA profile of a person who has committed a minor offense, such as traffic rule violation, is a threat to its privacy...

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