The Use of DNA in Forensics
DNA (noun) [deoxyribonucleic acid] first appeared 1944 : any of various nucleic acids that are usually the molecular basis of heredity, are localized especially in cell nuclei, and are constructed of a double helix held together by hydrogen bonds between purine and pyrimidine bases which project inward from two chains containing alternate links of deoxyribose and phosphate.
What is forensics?
fo*ren*sic  (adjective)
First appeared 1659
1 : belonging to, used in, or suitable to courts of judicature or to public discussion and debate.
2 : ARGUMENTATIVE, RHETORICAL.
3 : relating to or dealing with the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems *~ medicine* *~ science* *~ pathologist* *~ experts*.1
How are the two related?
DNA can be used to identify an individual. In relation to forensics, when there is a crime investigation and some proof is needed to back up the suspect DNA is usually the way that scientist deal with the situation. Specialized forensic scientists scan about ten DNA regions that vary from person to person and use the data to create a DNA profile for that individual. This is effective because there is a very small chance that another individual has the same DNA profile in the same set of regions.
DNA can be used for many other things besides for committing a suspect. It can also free a person wrongly accused of a crime, identify crime and catastrophe victims ,establish paternity and other family relationships ,detect bacteria and other organisms that may pollute air, water, soil, and food ,and even match organ donors with recipients in transplant programs .
How effective is DNA in identifying a person?
DNA identification must be used intelligently. When you find a certain thing through DNA at a crime scene that thing alone may not be enough. However if many little things are found then you can connect them all and find what you need. If the first thing you find is found in almost half of the American population that is not very helpful but if you keep on finding more and more things eventually it is narrowed down to one specific person.
Once the DNA is found how is it typed up?
Only one-tenth of a single percent of DNA makes one person different from the next. Scientists can use these variable regions to create a DNA profile for a person, using samples from hair, blood, bone and other body tissues and products. Generally in criminal cases this involves getting samples from crime-scene evidence and a suspect giving off some DNA, and analyzing it for the presence of a set of specific DNA regions.
Scientists find the markers in a DNA sample by designing small pieces of DNA called probes that will each seek out and tie to a complementary DNA sequence in the sample. A series of probes tied to a DNA sample creates a unique pattern for an individual. Forensic scientists compare these DNA profiles to the suspect's sample to see if the suspects sample...