Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DNA Profiling -- Blake Werab

I. Introduction
DNA profiling is a recent discovery that was discovered in the 1980's. DNA profiling is the comparison of DNA molecules between two people that tells them if they are related in any way. Alec Jeffreys was a genecticist who studied at the University of Leicester in Britain and was the first to discover DNA profiling. In 1984, Jeffreys was observing genes of families and how they differ when he discovered a strange similarity between all of them. He then soon figured out that a way to find these similarities was through fingerprints. He then created DNA fingerprinting. I mention this because it is also very important to DNA profiling. It is important because a year later, Jeffreys created DNA profiling which instead of millions of samples of DNA through fingerprints, it lessened the troubles and issues by giving less samples.
Figure 1:

II. Discovery

Criminal justice was very unaccurate before DNA profiling. DNA profiling is error- free and is always on the ball. DNA profiling also eliminated the innocent and found the guilty. One problem is that some people think that DNA profiling is an invasion of privacy and shouldn't be allowed. DNA profiling is so easy it only takes a drop of blood or even easier all you have to do is give them a piece of your hair! DNA fingerprinting was the first thing made by Jeffreys in 1984. He discovered this by looking at many different types of mammalian DNA strands and looking for similarities. He found differences in the parents but in their child the child had both parents DNA. Also there were only similarities in families of mammals. The steps of DNA fingerprinting are: DNA is extracted from specimen, enzymes are added to cut the DNA into smaller strands, strands are dyed and electronically visualized, and finally DNA membrane is exposed by an x-ray film. He figured out a way to get one suspects fingerprint and comparing it to millions of others to see which one is most alike. This system was okay but not good enough for Jeffreys. He then a year later discovered DNA profiling, an easier path. DNA profiling compares ones DNA to others but quicker and alot more efficiently. He discovered DNA profiling when he was called to try his new system in a double-murder case. Jeffreys knew there was to much DNA for fingerprinting so he found DNA profiling. He later proved the guilty criminal due to the success of DNA profiling.

Figure 2:
III. Biography of the Investigator
Alec Jeffreys was born on January 9th, 1950 in Oxford, England. Jeffreys was in a middle-class family and later moved to Luton. When he was about 9 years old, his father bought him a chemistry set, dissecting kit, and a microscope which began his studies into the field of science. Jeffreys later graduated from Merton College with a honors degree in biochemistry. After he graduated, he went to University of Oxford to get hid PhD. Jeffreys studied mammalian mitochondrias and how they process. After receiving his PhD, Jeffreys went to the University of Amsterdam where he still studied mammalian genes and cells. He later moved from Amsterdam to the University of Leicester where he discovered DNA fingerprinting and DNA profiling.
Figure 3:

IV. Impact on World/Humanity
DNA profiling is used in many different circumstances including: finding out if you have a genetic disease, criminal justice, and also shows the genome of each human which enables scientists to find out these things. It helps in criminal justice by identifying a criminal or a victim. Jeffreys' work helps prove guilty or innocent by just a piece of hair or a drop of blood. Also, DNA profiling can help mothers whose husbands will not pay child support because they claim they are not the father. DNA profiling is a error-free experiment that has been tested over and over and helps people get justice throughout the world.
This video sums up my whole project
V. Journal Article Review
Aronson's article was a great source of information. I got most of my information from this article such as who Alec Jeffreys was, what he did, and how it all began. It made all of the scientific equations and steps clear which is very important when you want to understand something. It also put the basics, the good side, and the bad side. Comparison is alot better than just telling you what it is and how it works.
1) Aronson, Jay D. (2007) Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling. Rutgers University Press.
2) Harlan, Leigh M. (2004) When Privacy Fails: Invoking a Property Paradigm to Mandate the Destruction of DNA Samples. Duke Law Journal, Vol. 54.
3)Saad, Rana. (2005) Discovery, development, and current applications of DNA identity testing. Baylor University Medical Center.
For figures:
Figure 1: google/images/discovery of DNA profiling
Figure 2: google/images/DNA fingerprinting
Figure 3: google/images/alec jeffreys

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