support for a dna data bank A DNA Bank Is Good For All Imagine that a convicted child molester is released from jail and that he is now traveling around the country looking for work. One day this criminal returns to his old ways and he attacks a young child whose dead body is found in a deserted field the following day. The only trace of evidence at the crime scene is a semen specimen on the boys clothes. Now this specimen could be useful if the police tracked down, and arrested the suspect, and then took a blood sample of his that matched the crime scene specimen. But, since no other clues are found this criminal was never arrested and for the next couple years he repeated this act many more times.
It is a shame that innocent children had to die because of this sick man, and most people would agree criminals like this should be stopped at any cost. Now just think what would have happened had their been a DNA data bank that contained this man To understand why a DNA data bank is necessary it is important to know exactly what DNA is. Firstly, there are cells which makes up all organisms and inside these cells are chromosomes. Chromosomes, which are made up of DNA, contain all the hereditary information that an individual has. Now this DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) which makes up these chromosomes simply contains the blueprints of the organism.
It is DNA which determines what, where, and when to make a certain protein, and it basically is the storage center for information in almost all creatures. This knowledge of DNA is important because now it is possible to show the correlation between DNA and forensic technology. There are many reasons why DNA is such a useful tool for law enforcement. One important feature of DNA, relates to the fact that all individuals have unique DNA, is that each cell in an organism has identical DNA. Whether it is found in in skin cells, hair cells, semen cells, or blood cells the DNA found in one cell is identical to the DNA found in all other cells in the body Another extremely crucial characteristic of DNA is that everyone has their own unique DNA. Since humans in general are basically alike in that we all have legs, arms, hearts brain it is obvious that most DNA is identical.
The key though to identifying individuals through DNA is not through the strands of DNA that have a known function, rather it is the DNA that has no known function. Inside these strands of DNA with no known function, called Junk DNA, are different repetitive DNA patterns which are unique from person to person. This is why DNA can always, be traced back to one person (with the exception of identical twins). There are two tests for analyzing DNA for forensic use, Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP), and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). The RFLP test consists of taking a sample of body tissue which contains DNA.
After locating the DNA thousands of different combinations of DNA repeats called Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTR) are examined. These VNTR There are a great number of reasons to have a DNA data bank, but first it is important to accurately describe the requirements for this DNA data bank. Only convicted criminals would be entered into the bank. Also, only Junk DNA would be kept as data, DNA that contains no personal or hereditary information. One advantage to a data bank will be the quick access to information.
Prosecutors are going to be able to match the DNA collected at a crime scene with DNA that has already been collected in the bank and this will allow them to apply for a warrant faster. Take the case of Jean Ann Broderick. In 1991 she was found murdered and raped in her Minnesota apartment. There were no witnesses or evidence that led to any one suspect. The only lead at the crime scene was a semen stain on the victim.
Minnesota at this time was one of the few states that had and used a DNA data bank of convicted criminals, so the Minnesota authorities checked their sample DNA with the DNA data bank and found a match that linked the DNA with Martin Perez, a 37 year old illegal alien. After Perez was identified by the DNA, he was also identified by witnesses, who saw him at Jean Ann Broderick Another advantage of having a DNA data bank is that it is much easier to identify repeat offenders. Most sexual offenders commit a series of crimes, so the importance of a DNA data bank can obviously be seen. The DNA specimen left at the crime scene can be used to identify a suspect before other similar crimes are convicted. A situation like this occured in 1994 in Manhattan, New York, when three rapes occured.
Anthony Monagas had lived in Florida in the early 1980 One more significant use of DNA will be to eliminate suspects and avoid false arrests. Attorney General, Janet Reno may have put it best “DNA is a powerful tool for convicting the guilty, but today Many people argue against the idea of a DNA data base. They claim that DNA carries the genetic blueprints of people and that with the completion of the Human Genome Project DNA will be able to reveal all the personal information about an individual. DNA can say who the carriers are for diseases, or the measurements of one intelligence, and this is an invasion of privacy. These results can be sold to insurance companies or other agencies that can hold an individuals genetic information against their ownselves.
Now as mentioned beforeonly Junk DNA, which contains information that has no known use, will be used. Next, the actual DNA sample does not have to be kept only the X-ray film, and testing strips which can all be kept on computers. The government in an effort to make sure all DNA data basing is up to standard designed the DNA Identification Act to govern both the analysis and reporting of DNA forensic results, as well as providing penalties for the disclosure of DNA information. Grants will be given out over the next five years to forensic laboratories that comply with governmental standards, participate in external proficency testing and limit access to DNA information. Under this type of system DNA information is no more dangerous than actual fingerprints. Another argument that many people have about DNA is the claim that DNA is unreliable.
There is a high chance of getting either incorrect results, or fudged results because of the small room for error and the tampering that can be done. Yes there is a chance of error but results have shown that DNA is 99% accurate. Nothing is perfect and a system cannot be much more efficient than this. Tampering with evidence is not unique to DNA; evidence of any sort can be tampered with. DNA does not determine guilt, it is just evidence and even if DNA does match it does not mean that this is a definite sentence of guilt.
Take the O.J. Simpson case. Massive DNA evidence was compiled that all pointed to O.J., but since there was suspicion of tampering by the L.A.P.D. he was not convicted of the crime. DNA evidence can be unreliable, but under the legal system unreliable evidence probably won By weighing up the arguments for a DNA data bank it is clear that there should be a DNA data bank for all convicted criminals. Currently the existence of a DNA bank for convicted criminals is crucial to the crime fighting business.
Over 30 thirty states have their own DNA databases and the FBI has a national database named Combined DNA Index System(CODIS), and it includes the DNA databases of all states that currently have one. The advantages of a DNA data base are overwhelming: The instant access to information can help in the quick apprehension of a criminal, it is much easier to identify repeat offenders in order to prevent future crimes, and the data base can also effectively eliminate suspects and end false arrests. All of society greatly benefits from a DNA database of convicted criminals. No one absolutely knows how effective a DNA data base will be against crime in the future, but presently it fights crime like nothing else. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Javurek, Peter, “Canada2.
Frank, Laura, “Fingerprints from DNA not always on money” USA TODAY 7-15-94 3. Levy, Harlan, AND THE BLOOD CRIED OUT, Basic Books, 1996 4. Maharaj, Davan, “DNA Tests Becoming The Key out of Prison in Orange County” Los Angeles Times, 6-22-96 5. DOJ RELEASES STUDY ON VALUE OF DNA TESTING TO ESTABLISH INNOCENCE; AWARDS $8.75 MILL www.elibrary.com/getdoc.cgi?id=5322482776. 6. Billings, Paul, DNA ON TRIAL, 1995.