Home > Legal Aspects > Government Involvement in DNA Technology

Government Involvement in DNA Technology

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 21 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Government Involvement Dna Technology

Government involvement in DNA technology and processes is generally met with mixed reviews. Supporters believe that we need regulation and structure to ensure this type of technology is not misused. Critics believe that government involvement can lead to a loss of personal freedom if it is too excessive.

DNA Analysis and Laboratory Regulation

With laboratories cropping up everywhere to profit from the advancements in DNA technology and testing, the reliability of their results is vital to providing the public and legal system with accurate information. Testing can be used to profile evidence found at the scene of a crime and it can also be collected from suspects in a case and then compared to crime scene evidence. As such, it is mandatory that laboratory testing is reliable and provides a valid result. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A number of highly publicised cases have brought to light questions about the integrity of laboratories.

In one case involving an FBI laboratory, a technician did not use negative controls during the DNA analysis and she also modified laboratory papers to hide her mistake. A great deal of weighting is attached to DNA evidence, particularly in criminal cases. In this sense, laboratory regulation is important and necessary to ensure that innocent people are protected and that criminals are identified and sentenced appropriately. Currently, there is an important accreditation process for laboratories but suggestions for random checks and increased monitoring could help to improve reliability if they are consistently performed.

DNA Databases and Government Regulation

In the United Kingdom (UK), a database is kept of DNA profiles from people who are thought to pose a risk to society. The criminal justice system uses this database – the largest such database in the world – to identify criminals and find links between evidence found at the scene of a crime and a perpetrator. There has, however, been criticism over the fact that many people in the database were never formally charged or for those who were, not all were found guilty or received jail time. This level of government regulation and interference is not acceptable to many people. However, others support this involvement and cite the need for even more involvement in DNA technology, particularly where it can potentially safeguard the public.

DNA and Illegal Timber Trade

The concerns around illegal timber trade have now prompted government involvement in the industry. DNA technology has provided a way to confirm the source of trees that are imported into the country. With this approach, a genetic profile is established from each kind of tree that is grown in a legal, approved area. Next, this profile is matched to trees that are brought to production mills, which should ideally provide a positive match. If that occurs, the tree is then approved for processing and shipped out of the country.

The controversy over the government's involvement in DNA and related technologies will likely continue for many years to come, particularly as DNA technology becomes more advanced and mainstream. We need to continue expanding our awareness of government involvement to ensure that any interference is ethical and in the best interests of the public while also safeguarding privacy and freedom to a reasonable extent.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • bhad bhabie
    Re: DNA Sequencing
    why is this sooo long and its hard to understand what this is talking about.
    19 October 2018
  • Rhonda
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My grandfather died in 1959 and I was wondering if you could do dna from an old pipe of his.
    17 October 2018
  • Rhonda
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Can you take dna from an old pipe. My grandfather died in 1959 and we only have an old pipe.
    17 October 2018
  • Shelley1964
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I am trying to get citizenship for the UK as my father was born there. However my parents were not married at the time of my birth and my…
    15 October 2018
  • Nadeoui Eden
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I am 73 years old. My birth father died in 1976 and I know where he is buried. I have been very active in family research, but have no…
    13 October 2018
  • Nadeoui Eden
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I am 72 years old. My birth father never gave us accurate family information. I know where he is buried. Would it be legal or possible for me…
    13 October 2018
  • ugly lil boy
    Re: DNA Sequencing
    exscuse me my name is mariah and i need my answer for i tell on all of yall.
    12 October 2018
  • b vf
    Re: The Properties of DNA
    you better tell me what the 5 chararistics of dna are \
    12 October 2018
  • Enoch Correa
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My son died on july and i think that the ashes they give me not belong to my son how can i do to find out that the ashes they give me belongs…
    30 September 2018
  • Suzette Brits
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My sister reasonly found out that my father was not her farther we did a paternity test which confirmed this. We suspect who the real farther…
    26 September 2018