DNA is a unique code that identifies each person, and science keeps revealing its opportunities to find more information about humanity. Nowadays, the unique nature of DNA is utilized for multiple purposes, such as finding biological parents or victims of catastrophes and convicting criminal offenders. However, is there a guarantee that it is a foolproof way of identifying a person? This post aims to discuss different ways of using DNA to determine if it is a reliable source of identification.
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DNA is instrumental in identifying the biological parents of a person as it is formed by their unique DNAs and has specific matches only with them. Thus, parental biological tests are considered scientifically unshakeable and capable of identifying parents quickly and inexpensively (Lee et al., 2020). DNA is a reliable source to confirm the identification of biological parents when similar appearance does not provide enough evidence.
Moreover, the uniqueness of DNA helps to identify victims of catastrophic events by matching the discovered DNA with the DNA of a victim’s relatives. De Boer et al. (2020) state that “in disaster victim identification (DVI), DNA profiling is considered to be one of the most efficient means to identify bodies” (p. 253). The piece DNA might be covered in dirt, or the sample found might be damaged, yet the DNA itself cannot be affected, and that makes the identification process foolproof.
Many criminal offenders were convicted due to their DNA found at crime scenes. Criminalists try to find any pieces of DNA to reach their owner, and police departments create databases of citizens’ DNA to find matches. Moreover, reports using DNA as evidence are the most reliable for judicial decision-making (Scudder et al., 2020). It is reasonable because DNA is not just unique; it also cannot be changed or modified.
As I researched multiple ways of using DNA identification, I concluded that DNA offers foolproof evidence that can be used to identify a person. It matches their parents only and can be neither damaged nor modified in any way. Technologies keep updating methods of extracting DNA, and science will find new ways of identification that will likely also rely on DNA.
De Boer, H. H., Maat, G. J., Kadarmo, D. A., Widodo, P. T., Kloosterman, A. D., & Kal, A. J. (2018). DNA identification of human remains in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI): An efficient sampling method for muscle, bone, bone marrow, and teeth. Forensic Science International, 289, 253-259.
Lee, C., & Voigt, T. H. (2020). DNA testing for family reunification and the limits of biological truth. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 45(3), 430-454.
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Scudder, N., Kelty, S. F., Grant, J. B., Montgomerie, C., Walsh, S. J., Robertson, J., & McNevin, D. (2020). Differing perception of DNA evidence and intelligence capabilities in criminal investigations. Preprints.