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Discuss and analyze DNA and fingerprinting technologies used in law enforcement today - Essay Example

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DNA and fingerprinting technologies used in law enforcement today DNA and fingerprinting technologies used in law enforcement today Current criminals are smarter than the criminals in the past and they have the ability to conduct crimes without leaving any evidences at the crime site…
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Discuss and analyze DNA and fingerprinting technologies used in law enforcement today
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DNA and fingerprinting technologies used in law enforcement today DNA and fingerprinting technologies used in law enforcement today Current criminals are smarter than the criminals in the past and they have the ability to conduct crimes without leaving any evidences at the crime site. However, science and technology developed a lot and new methods of gathering evidences were implemented in crime investigations. DNA and finger print technologies are helping investigating officers immensely at present in establishing crimes in the court. This paper analyses the effectiveness or potential effectiveness and drawbacks of these new technologies. No two individuals in this world have similar fingerprints. Because of the above characteristic of fingerprints, fingerprint investigations can help the investigating officers in identifying the criminals. Evidences gathering from the crime sites may have lot of fingerprints and these fingerprints can be compared with the fingerprints of the suspected criminals in order to identify the actual criminal. As in the case of fingerprints, another unique characteristic of a person is his DNA. “99% of human DNA is identical between individuals, but the 1% that differs enables scientists to distinguish identity” (Rosner, 2011). A specific type of DNA called microsatellite can be used to identify a person. “In a given area, microsatellites tend to be highly variable, making them ideal for DNA fingerprinting. By comparing a number of microsatellites in a given area, one can identify a person relatively easily” (McGuigan, 2011). DNA tests can help the investigating officers to; Identify potential suspects whose DNA may match evidence left at crime scenes, Exonerate persons wrongly accused of crimes, Identify crime and catastrophe victims, Establish paternity and other family relationships. To identify individuals, forensic scientists scan 13 DNA regions, or loci, that vary from person to person and use the data to create a DNA profile of that individual. There is an extremely small chance that another person has the same DNA profile for a particular set of 13 regions (DNA forensics, n. d). For example, after killing Bin laden, American commandos conducted DNA tests to confirm that the killed person was actually Bin Laden himself. DNA identification is often used when parenthood becomes controversial. Illegal relationships often lead to unwanted pregnancies and children born in such relationships often forced to live under the control of the mother. Even if the mother claims somebody as the father of her child, it is not necessary that the father may accept it. In such cases, DNA tests can be effectively conducted to determine whether the claims of the mother right or wrong. Fingerprints are located only on fingers which can be altered. If a criminal burns his fingers, his fingerprints could be damaged or altered and the criminal investigating officers cannot make use of it for the comparison with the fingerprints collected from the crime locations. On the other hand, DNA fingerprints can be collected from any part of the body which means the criminal cannot change it during the course of his life time. DNA on the other hand can be collected even from hair, saliva, skin etc. “A DNA fingerprint is identical for every part of your body, whether it is your brain, kidney or foot. It cannot be changed, so it will be identical no matter what is done to a body” (Advantages & Disadvantages of DNA Fingerprinting, 2011). Even though DNA tests are effective in most of the cases, it is not necessary that these tests may yield 100% error free results. If people’s DNA is in police databases, they might be identified as matches or partial matches to DNA found at crime scenes. This occurs even with innocent people, for instance, if an individual had been at a crime scene earlier or had a similar DNA profile to the actual criminal (DNA forensics, n. d). Another potential drawback of DNA testing is about the sensitivity of DNA fingerprinting. “Although DNA fingerprinting is very accurate, it also is very sensitive and can be contaminated easily. According to the Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute, the slightest contamination can affect the test, and it is difficult to keep a sample contaminant-free” (Advantages & Disadvantages of DNA Fingerprinting, 2011). To conclude, DNA and fingerprinting technologies are used extensively in criminal investigations at present. Even though 99% of the human DNA is identical, 1% of DNA has unique characteristics which help the investigating officers in identifying different people. As in the case of fingerprints, DNA fingerprinting also has some potential disadvantages. It is difficult to keep the DNA sample intact for longer period because of its vulnerability to contamination. References 1. Advantages & Disadvantages of DNA Fingerprinting, (2011). Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_5994718_advantages-disadvantages-dna-fingerprinting.html 2. DNA forensics, (n. d). Retrieved from http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/elsi/forensics.shtml 3. McGuigan M. (2011). What Is DNA Fingerprinting? Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-dna-fingerprinting.htm 4. Rosner D, (2011). How does DNA Fingerprinting Work? Retrieved from http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/dalyacolumn8.htm/ Read More
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