DNA Testing

The paper discusses DNA testing techniques. The latest DNA-typing technique and the use of short repeated tandems (STR) are compared to DNA fingerprinting. The paper shows DNA as the critical element of forensic analysis, while DNA fingerprinting stands as the starting point in the subsequent development of DNA forensic technologies.

DNA Testing

    The history of DNA testing goes back to the beginning of the 1980s, when forensic professionals sought to develop sophisticated methods of forensic identification and to improve the overall criminal situation in the country. The discovery of DNA profiling (or DNA typing) came to signify the new stage in the development of forensic science it gave forensic professionals a unique advantage over criminals and a unique opportunity to look deeper into the meaning of the crime. Since that time, DNA typing has turned into the basic method of criminal investigation and the critical feature of scientific progress in criminology and forensics, with DNA technologies being the direct prerequisites of any criminal investigation success.

    Needless to say, DNA sequences remain the most reliable source of information about individuals, species, and organisms. When it comes to criminology and forensics, DNA has already turned into the central element of identification and the basic component of any criminal investigation and analysis. In the process of forensic identification, samples of DNA are used to identify potential suspects, to exonerate those who had been wrongly accused of crimes, to identify victims, to establish paternity relationships and even to match organ donors with the organ recipients (Lazer, 2004). However, the newest DNA typing technologies are not simply used to match potential suspects with the evidence from the crime scene, but help create a DNA profile of potential criminals by using samples from blood, hair, or any other body tissues (Fisher, 2004). DNA typing implies the need for forensic scientists to find markers in a DNA sample by designing small pieces of DNA that will each seek out and bind to a complementary DNA sequence in the sample (Butler, 2005). Several such DNA probes create a distinct profile of a potential suspect or the victim, and these profiles are then compared to what forensic scientists have obtained at the crime scene. Certainly, all these processes have been sped up and automated to make the newest DNA-typing fast, effective, and almost 100 reliable.

    In distinction from conventional DNA-typing, Short Tandem Repeats are used as a part of a forensic analysis to evaluate specific loci found on the DNA nuclei given the variable nature of STR, forensic scientists can use this variability to distinguish one DNA profile from another (Butler, 2005). The Federal Bureau of Investigation uses the 13 specific STR patterns to standardize STR procedures (Butler, 2005). This standardization is necessary to make sure that all forensic laboratories operate to one and the single set of standard procedures and, more importantly, that these forensic laboratories can share valuable information in a convenient and understandable form (Butler, 2005). In its current state, both DNA-typing and STRs form a cluster of critical forensic procedures, which make it easier for forensic scientists to identify all participants of any crime.

    That DNA-typing has already become the most sophisticated and the most reliable forensic procedure does not mean that the use of DNA in criminology was always effective and useful. Objectively, not DNA-typing in its present form but DNA fingerprinting was the first attempt to utilize the unique benefits of DNA for the purposes of forensic identification. DNA Fingerprinting was associated with the need to identify common polymorphisms (RFLPs) and to use these in the process of creating a potential suspects genotype (Pena, 1993). Unfortunately, the use of RFLPs in DNA fingerprinting was increasingly time consuming it did not leave forensic scientists a single chance to automate the process and could not work with contaminated and or mixed DNA (Lazer, 2004). Nevertheless, DNA fingerprinting became the first step and the starting point in the subsequent progressive development of DNA technologies in forensics.

    The history of DNA-typing dates back to the beginning of the 1980s, when forensic scientists came to realize the value of DNA sequences and their uniqueness for the purposes of criminal investigation. The first DNA fingerprinting techniques were extremely time consuming and could not be automated. In their current form, DNA-typing and STRs are used to match the DNA data of potential suspects with the evidence from the crime scene and even to create a unique profile of a potential criminal or that of the victim. In the context of criminology and forensics, DNA can be fairly regarded as the central and the most reliable component of forensic investigation.


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