DNA Testing: History, Uses and Misuse
DNA testing has been around for about 30 years. It is a scientific method for determining the identification of an individual and their biological relatives. The process is performed by examining the components of an individual’s DNA. The DNA test can only be performed if a person is alive. DNA testing is used to identify individuals in forensics, paternity cases, immigration issues, ancestry and genealogy.
DNA testing has been used in criminal cases since the 1980’s when the first case was solved with DNA evidence. Since that time it has been used to solve thousands of crimes and exonerate people who were wrongfully convicted of committing crimes they did not commit.
The first use of DNA testing to solve a crime occurred in England in 1987 when forensic scientists used DNA evidence to convict Colin Pitchfork for the murders of two girls in Leicestershire, England.
We have all heard about DNA testing. Maybe it’s because of your favorite crime television show, or maybe it’s because you are concerned with your own health. But what do you really know about DNA? Let’s take a look at the history, uses and misuse of DNA testing. It is a fascinating topic, and we will cover it in this blog.
DNA testing has come a long way since the first discovery of its structure. In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick discovered that DNA was shaped like a double helix. From there, scientists have been able to determine how to sequence the 3 billion base pairs that make up our DNA. This led to the creation of the Human Genome Project in 1990. The project was completed in 2003, mapping out all genes on our twenty-three pairs of chromosomes.
Today, genetic testing is being used for many reasons by many different people: couples wanting to have children; people looking for their ancestors; and law enforcement trying to solve crimes. This technology has been very beneficial to us as a society, but what happens when this technology is used inappropriately?
DNA testing has evolved from a curiosity to a crime-fighting tool in just a few decades. Since its discovery in 1953, DNA has helped solve some of the most notorious crimes in history as well as some lesser known cases. We’ve put together this blog to discuss the history of DNA testing and how it is used by law enforcement today.
In the beginning
DNA testing was first used in 1985 to help exonerate an innocent man. In 1989, it was used to identify the remains of Josef Mengele, a Nazi physician known as “the Angel of Death” for his role in overseeing experiments on Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz.
The first use of DNA testing to convict someone came after Colin Pitchfork, who raped and murdered two girls, was identified via DNA analysis by a British geneticist. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1988. The case gained national attention because it was the first time genetic fingerprinting had been used to solve a crime.
In 1994, OJ Simpson famously beat murder charges after his legal team successfully argued that police mishandled evidence that could have exonerated him. But OJ did lose his civil trial which resulted in a $33 million judgment against him for wrongful death and battery.
While this case didn’t result in a
DNA testing is often thought of as a modern invention, but the first DNA testing was done in 1984. Since then, DNA testing has become a vital tool in solving crimes.
But just how does DNA testing work? And what are the controversies surrounding it? This blog will attempt to answer those questions.
The use of DNA testing has been growing rapidly since its introduction into the judicial system in the 1990s. The science behind DNA testing works by comparing genetic material found at a crime scene with that from suspect(s).
DNA testing has been used as evidence in court since 1987 when DNA was first admitted in a trial in England. It has since been used to convict and exonerate defendants of crimes, to identify missing persons alive or deceased, and even to identify remains of soldiers killed in battle. Police use DNA testing regularly to solve crimes and exonerate innocent suspects. However, the technology is not without its critics. In this blog post, we will look at some of the controversies surrounding DNA testing.
The History of DNA Testing
Forensic DNA analysis was first developed by Sir Alec Jeffreys at the University of Leicester in 1984. He discovered that certain sequences of repeat nucleotides (a nucleotide is a molecule that contains a basic unit of genetic information) were inherited from both parents and could be found on virtually every part of the human body. These sequences varied from person to person with the exception of identical twins who share 100% of their DNA. This discovery allowed scientists to develop tests that could extract and compare these sequences among individuals and determine if they were genetically related or not.
DNA testing is one of the most powerful tools in the field of genetic genealogy. Since its application to criminal investigations first became known in 1989, DNA testing has revolutionized our understanding of the human genome and its potential for solving crimes.
The History of DNA Testing
DNA testing may seem like a recent phenomenon, but the basic technology has been around for a long time. In fact, DNA testing has its roots in some of the oldest scientific methods mankind ever developed.
In 1869, Swiss scientist Johann Friedrich Miescher first isolated nuclein while researching pus cells in bandages from soldiers treated at a nearby hospital. Nuclein later became known as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Decades later, German biochemist Albrecht Kossel isolated the basic components of DNA: nucleotides. These nucleotides are made up of three parts: a phosphate group, a sugar group and one of four types of nitrogen bases. The four types are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C).
In 1944, Oswald Avery and his colleagues identified DNA as the carrier of genetic material. Five years later, Erwin Chargaff discovered that while the number of A’s equals
DNA testing has been used by law enforcement agencies across the world since the 1980s. It is a powerful tool, but like all new technologies, it has its limitations.
DNA testing began in October 1984, when Dr. Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist, discovered that individuals have unique segments of DNA that can be used as identifiers. In what is now called “Jeffreys’ Experiment,” he took blood samples from two family members and compared their DNA patterns. When he examined the results under an electron microscope, he saw distinctive bands that could be used to identify individuals. Jeffreys realized this DNA fingerprinting technique could be used to prove or disprove guilt in criminal cases, for example.
DNA testing requires a small sample of fluid or tissue from which to extract DNA. For most forensic applications, it is necessary to use non-repetitive sequences of DNA called “junk” DNA (non-coding DNA). For example, junk DNA sequences vary considerably between people and so can be used to directly identify the culprit in a crime. Some types of repetitive sequences are also useful because they are highly polymorphic (e.g., they are repeated in different ways in different people). These types of repeats can be used as markers when someone wants to know whether