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Dna Technology Essay

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DNA technology has provided law enforcement officers and investigators with a way to solve many crimes that would have previously been unsolvable. DNA technology has improved the way we solve crimes. Without DNA evidence in thousands of cases, the perpetrator would still be free, and innocent men would still be locked away. DNA technology has made solving crimes much more infallible and efficient.

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the fundamental building block of an individual's genetic makeup. (Portugal 11) DNA is found almost everywhere, in every cell of the entire human body. (Kluger et al.) DNA is also the same in every different type of cell in the human body. It doesn't matter what type of cell you look at, the DNA will be the same. DNA is similar to fingerprint analysis because every person's DNA is different. When DNA is found at a crime scene it is compared to DNA that is already on file to determine if it is a match, much like if it were a fingerprint. (What Every Law) There are already over 150,000 genetic profiles of convicted offenders as well as samples from the scenes of over 8,000 unsolved crimes. (Beiser) DNA found at the crime scene can link a person to the crime, or it can eliminate them.

Since the early 1990's 116 people have been exonerated of crimes that they didn't commit because of post-conviction DNA testing. (www.innocenceproject.org) Innocent men have served hundreds of collective years. If they would have had DNA evidence present at their trial it could have easily been avoided. In many cases it would have also lead to the conviction of the real perpetrator. Many of these people who have been wrongfully accused have been exonerated and now are back to their lives. Some have even gotten compensation from the government. But some were not that lucky.

On April 15, 1985 an eight-year-old girl was raped and beaten to death with a rock. Through shaky eyewitness descriptions from neighbors, Frank Lee Smith was arrested. The prosecution relied on the identification of Smith by the victim's mother, who said she saw a man climbing out the window that night, and Smith's previous criminal record. The jury convicted Smith and sentenced him to death. After fourteen years on death row, Smith died of cancer. Only after his death was a blood sample taken and compared to the semen in the victim's vagina. The dead Frank Lee Smith was then exonerated of the rape and murder charges. (www.innocenceproject.org) If DNA testing would have been conducted during the time of the trial Smith might still be alive today. If he was out of jail he could have gotten treatment for his cancer and might still be around.

The collection of DNA evidence often involves collecting very small samples and contamination can become an issue. The most common kind of DNA contamination comes when an officer is collecting and transporting a sample and gets some DNA



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