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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.

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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 bodyAnother 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 VNTRThere 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 BroderickAnother
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 1980One 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 todayMany 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

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 wonBy 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.

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

6. Billings, Paul, DNA ON TRIAL, 1995


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