Dna Profiling

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DNA profiling is a method of identifying an individual by unique characteristics of their DNA. A specific DNA pattern, called a profile, is obtained from an individual or a sample of tissue. This allows the comparison of the base sequence of two or more DNA samples to determine whether they are related. DNA profiling has many uses, in prevention of economic fraud, dietetic work, and classifying species, identifying bodies, forensic science, screening for disease, and investigating paternity. Most importantly DNA profiling is used in forensic science; used to identify who committed the crime. It is estimated that roughly one percent of all criminal cases employ this technique. However, DNA profiling has been used to acquit several suspects involved in serious crimes such as rape and murder and it has been used to convict individuals of crimes years after investigators closed the unsolved cases. On August the 5th 2003 an American policeman found a woman’s body near a highway, unidentifiable. Using DNA from her teeth bones and fingernails they compared it to the people who they suspected were her children. The tests came back and it was confirmed that there was a 99 percent chance that the body belonged to the children’s’ mother. Classifying species is also an important use of DNA profiling. The growing databases of animal genes have given wildlife researchers and environmentalists a powerful new tool to identify new species and protect endangered animals. Scientists know the genetic profiles of some species so well they can tell the region or population they come from by examining the DNA of an individual animal. At the American university of Oregon a new spy craft technology has been established in an undercover operation to determine whether more whale meat is being sold in Japan and Korea than they admit to killing using DNA profiling. Both countries are only allowed to sell whale meat if it is caught in bycatch; this is where something is caught and killed accidently while fishing. Seeing as a Minke whale when carved can be worth 100,000 dollars, the university suggests that perhaps more whale meat is being sold than they are admitting too. The researchers wait at local markets for whale meat to come in which they then purchase. Seeing as whale cannot be sent overseas they set up DNA labs in local hotel rooms then input the meat’s genetic sequence into the data base to see if they are a match. Researchers found that more twice as many whales were passing through the markets than the countries had reported to killing in bycatch. Until now, most scientists had only visual means of identifying plants. However scientists at NCAUR are developing a comprehensive DNA database for Fusaria, an invasive pest species around the world infecting more than half the world’s countries. This means by taking DNA from plants and, using DNA profiling, comparing the profiles scientists can tell whether it is the pest Fusaria or not. I interviewed Dietitian Janet Milne about how DNA profiling is used in her work. “Genetic profiles of people can be obtained after testing in the USA. Dietary advice is tailored according to the genetic profile of the person.” For instance some people with high blood pressure benefit from reducing salt intake in their diet while others do not. Dietitans who know the genetic profile of their client (related to salt) can provide appropriate advice about whether a salt restriction would reduce their risk of having a stroke. With the depth of knowledge into technology gaining every year in the field of DNA profiling, screening peoples’ profiles for disease is becoming increasingly important. Using gel electrophoresis, researchers can identify the adult who carries a gene that causes hereditary diseases. Even though a person may have a gene that enhances their risk of getting a hereditary disease, it is not certain they will get it. For example a recently discovered gene increases an...
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