Does DNA fingerprinting and modern genetic research encroach on the rights of the dead?
DNA fingerprinting and modern genetics are used to help historians, palaeontologists and archaeologists to research the evolution of mankind. The question that comes to mind is whether or not dead people have any rights when it comes to research.
What is DNA fingerprinting?
DNA fingerprinting is a way of getting a person’s identification. This is shown in Figure 3 on page 4. One can extract DNA from hair, nails, blood, skin or even saliva. It was first used to discover genetic diseases but now is also used to help catch criminals or research the dead in order to unlock the evolution of mankind.
Facts about DNA fingerprinting:
• Sir Alec Jeffrey discovered DNA fingerprinting on accident on September 10th 1984
• DNA fingerprinting doesn't have much to do with actual fingerprints, but it refers to the fingerprint of someone's DNA, which is unique to themself.
• It was made famous when prosecutors used it to accuse O.J. Simpson to a double murder.
• Some people, called chimeras, have different DNA in different cells.
• DNA fingerprinting can be used in paternity testing to find out who the father of a child is. Without this, fathers could leave their children, and not have to pay fees.
• Only one sample is needed for a person's DNA, unless they are chimeras.
• It is possible for the DNA to become contaminated.
• The chances of a mismatch happening was improved from one in fifty million to one in a billion.
Now it is used in maternity tests, personal identification and forensic science. DNA fingerprinting would allow a scientist or any qualified worker to match the DNA of any person. All the worker would need is a sample of the DNA they found and this should match the sample they received and if the two match then they most likely have the right specimen's DNA.
The process of DNA fingerprinting is explained in the diagram below.
What is modern genetics?
Genetics is the process where traits are inherited from the parents to the offspring. It includes the molecular structure and function of genes, gene behavior in the context of a cell or organism (e.g. dominance and epigenetics), gene distribution and variation and change in populations. Given that genes are universal to living organisms, genetics can be applied to the study of all living systems, including bacteria, plants, animals, and humans. The observation that living things inherit traits from their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. The modern science of genetics, seeking to understand this process, began with Gregor Mendel.
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