Over the past decades, DNA profiling has played a major role in solving crimes as well as to check if two people are related to settle disputes. Companies such as MapMyGene offers DNA profiling as a commercial and accessible service through Genetic Tests and Genome Mapping.
Below are some interesting facts about DNA profiling:
- DNA profiling was discovered in the year 1984 by a scientist, Alec Jeffreys from Leicester, Britain. He used this technology to solve a murder case in Leicestershire that involved 3 girls.
- The DNA profiling technology makes use of the fact that a very tiny portion of the DNA repeats its self over and over in a unique manner. The amount of time a DNA repeats itself is what is measured when building up the profile of an individual.
- A genetic test examines about twenty sections under the DNA. Ten of these sections are from the father while the other ten is from the mother. The chance of two people having an exact match in all twenty sections is one in a billion. The chance of having a complete match is higher. Identical twins have the same profile.
- One of the most effective ways scientist collect DNA is through the use of a mouth swab. It could also be through the collection of blood traces, saliva, semen and other body fluids. Samples collected at a crime scene are very difficult to analyze obviously because they are microscopic and at times might be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, fungus and other organisms. Even more, a sample might contain the DNA of several people.
- Presently government organizations are working hard on building a very large DNA database with a goal of matching suspects with evidence gotten from a crime scene. Right now the United States has the largest DNA database with over five million profiles and the number keeps growing every day. Britain, on the other hand, has the highest people that have been catalogued. They currently have more than four million records which amount to about six percent of their original population.
Next, we are going to be looking at some limitations of DNA profiling. Of course, DNA profiling can be very effective and accurate most of the time, but it still has some limitations.
Below are a few or them.
- DNA evidence can be planted and thus can be used to incriminate an innocent person.
- Recent DNA profiling equipment may give results that are inaccurate mainly because a sample may have been contaminated.
- Older DNA profiling equipment and technologies are liable to errors that can give a misleading result.
- The result from DNA profiling is not absolute; rather they are based on probability.
- If more people are tested, the lower the statistical probability becomes.
- DNA database that is owned by government organization can be exploited by hackers.
- Some people view DNA profiling as a form of violation of a person’s DNA.
Advantages of DNA profiling
Below are some of the advantages of DNA profiling.
- DNA is resilient because they do not degenerate even after they have been contaminated by microorganisms like bacteria or chemicals.
- DNA profiling can help prevent law enforcement agencies from arresting an innocent person.
- A DNA profiling test can be carried out with the use of a very tiny sample, unlike other tests that require a large amount of samples.
- Any sample can be used to perform a DNA test. For example, samples of saliva, semen, hair, urine and other biological remains can be used to carry out a DNA test.
DNA profiling has now been applied to a new field of study and in the future, it is going to play a major role in the growth and development of different industries.