Sunday, December 12, 2010

DNA Testing--David Prue

DNA Testing

I. Intro

DNA testing is a technique used by scientists to identify individuals by their respective DNA profiles. DNA profiles are sets of numbers that reflect a person's DNA makeup, which can also be used as the person's identifier. Although 99.9% of human DNA is the same in every person, enough of the DNA is different to distinguish one individual from another. Alec Jeffreys discovered it in the 1980’s. Since then criminal investigation has been revolutionized.

II. Discovery

On September 10, 1984 Jeffreys made a monumental discovery. He noticed the difference between DNA. He first tested his technique on a double-murder case. Because of DNA testing Colin Pitchfork was convicted of the murder. Without this method another man would have been incorrectly persecuted. Since then DNA testing has taken place in numerous cases, leaving no doubt who is innocent and who is guilty.

III. Biography of Inventor

Alec Jeffreys was a scientist from the start. He was born on January 9th, 1950 in Oxford, England. When he was eight years old, his father gave him a small chemistry kit. When he got a little older, his father gave him a telescope. Finally, when he turned twelve, his gave him a dissecting kit. He actually brought home a dead cat and dissected it. When Jeffreys got older he followed his passion of science and got a degree in biochemistry. It was because of his studies that he discovered DNA profiling.

IV. Impact on World/ Humanity

DNA testing has had a huge impact on crime fighting and criminal justice. DNA testing has been the silver bullet for crime fighting. All that is need is a fingerprint, a single strand of hair, or even a drop blood. Because of this, narrowing down suspects is very simple. This way, innocent people are not accused and the criminals can be brought to justice.

V. Journal Article Review

This article was incredibly helpful in finding information. It helped me truly understand what DNA testing is all about. It showed the good and bad sides of it. It tackled the fact that it was incredibly useful for solving crimes and asked the question of whether or not it was an invasion of privacy.

VI. Videos

This video is Alec Jeffreys talking about DNA testing.

Joseph Neuberger comments on proposal for mandatory DNA sampling of those individuals charged with a criminal offence in the City of Toronto.

VII References

Science hall of fame


Harlan, Leigh M. (2004) When Privacy Fails: Invoking a Property Paradigm to Mandate the Destruction of DNA Samples. Duke Law Journal, Vol. 54


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