DNA fingerprinting, also referred to as DNA profiling, DNA typing and genetic fingerprinting is an individual's unique identifying factor. It is a scientific method that is based on establishing a profile from particular portions of a person's DNA to determine identity. One very important use of DNA fingerprinting involves the field of forensics where DNA fingerprinting is used as a tool for solving criminal justice cases. Many high profile murder cases have been solved using DNA evidence. Several popular TV shows have focused on forensics and the common use of gathering DNA to gather evidence.
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Advantage: Can Help Solve Murders/Homicides
The major advantage of DNA fingerprinting in the criminal justice system is that it can be useful to help solve murders and homicides. DNA is found in almost every cell and any portion of the human body may be used in order to establish identity. It can be in the form of a single hair strand, a piece of skin, nail, or a droplet of blood. These seemingly minute and irrelevant pieces of matter can actually distinguish guilt or innocence in a case. It is quite impossible to remove all bodily or physical traces of a person's presence therefore, DNA fingerprinting is very useful in murder or homicide cases where the victim's body has been disfigured, or fingerprints have been burnt, or the teeth and other features are destroyed--one single cell is enough for making a positive identification.
Advantage: Can Conclusively Prove Paternity
DNA fingerprinting can also assist mothers who are seeking alimony from a father who refuses to pay since he is claiming that he did not father the child. In the justice system, wilful failure to pay alimony or child support can result in a misdemeanour or in some cases, even a felony conviction. DNA fingerprinting can solve cases wherein mothers have had sexual encounters with more than one man and cannot identify who fathered her child. Men may also suspect the child is not theirs so they may undergo DNA fingerprinting to confirm their paternity. Also, DNA fingerprinting can also be used to establish connections to grandparents in order to legally collect an inheritance, or to claim social security benefits. The advantage of using DNA fingerprinting in this context is that it is over 99 per cent reliable in determining paternity or a familial relationship.
Advantage: Useful in Rape Cases
There are also many advantages to using DNA fingerprinting in sexual assault or rape cases. DNA fingerprinting is accurate at identifying a rapist based on evidence left behind on the victim. Detectives can simply match the DNA of the semen found at the crime scene with the DNA of the alleged suspect in order to determine who is guilty of the crime. DNA samples from the alleged rapist can be collected through a vaginal swab from the victim or on other semen found in the scene.
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