Serious Problems with DNA Fingerprinting

1624 Words4 Pages

Serious Problems with DNA Fingerprinting

Is there any piece of physical evidence so foolproof it could be used to prove or disprove anyone's case in a trial? Many people believe the answer to this question is DNA. In theory, this argument is true, but many believe certain factors can lead to inconsistent data gathered from DNA. There are many differing opinions on how DNA should be used, or if it should be used at all.

Many people are uninformed about what DNA actually is or how it is used in criminal trials. DNA is the generic term for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is a molecule found throughout the entire body that determines all inherited characteristics (Forensic Testing Division, 1998). Someone receives half of his or her genetic makeup from each biological parent, making each person's genetic makeup unique, except for identical twins.

Since the genetic makeup of each individual is entirely different from another, it is believed that DNA can be used to prove exactly who was at a crime scene and who was not. The process to determine whose DNA has been gathered at a crime scene is known as DNA fingerprinting. In actuality, only 2% of DNA are genes; the rest is called "junk DNA" which biological purpose is unknown (Verrengia, 1997). Junk DNA is what is mainly used in DNA fingerprinting.

DNA can be found in many different substances including hair, saliva, blood, and other fluids or tissues. That junk DNA found in these substances are tested in different ways including Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism and Polymerase Chain Reaction. These tests are usually referred as the RFLP and PCR tests, respectively.

In these tests, DNA is exposed to enzymes which cause the strands t...

... middle of paper ...

...ensic/index.htm, December 1, 1998.

Hunter, M. (1998). Laying the babes in the woods' to rest. [CD-ROM, InfoTrac].

Johnson Publishing Company Inc. (1996). Four Chicago men wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years released; movie deal in the works. [CD-ROM, InfoTrac].

Lampton, C. (1991). DNA fingerprinting. New York: Franklin Watts.

Messina, Lawrence. Six paid 40 years because of Zain. [Online] Available, December 3, 1998.

UPI Colorado Second News Briefs. [Online] Available, December 4,1998.

Verrengia, J.B. (1997, February 2), Much detective work in JonBenet Ramsey murder case conducted under lab microscope. The Rocky Mountain News, pp. 16A-17A.

Williams, M.A. (1989, December). Conviction by chromosome. [CD-ROM, SIRS] pp.26-32.

Open Document