Genetic testing has become big. One can do several kinds of tests ranging from paternity DNA testing to relationships DNA testing to ancestry testing and many more. Our genetic information is unique, so unique that it can be an invaluable tool when identifying relatives, fathers, murder victims and criminals. Genetic testing has brought on advent of the DNA database – a large scale collection of a given population’s DNA profiles.

The Prum Treaty has been signed in Germany earlier this year. This means that peoples’ DNA profiles are being stored and shared between governments along with fingerprints, vehicle details and other information. It will help make forensic testing easier DNA profiles will be readily available. In the US all visitors entering the country will have their finger prints taken and kept amongst those of criminals.

The Welsh Database Thousands of Innocent People

Despite a European Court ruling against innocent peoples’ DNA being stored by police forces, the Welsh government still adds hundreds of people on a periodic basis to its DNA database. Sources claim that around 10% of the population has their DNA in the database. The court ruling has declared this in breach of certain human rights. People are outraged as they feel that they are all being viewed as potential criminals and moreover, there are still debates relating to how long this DNA information will be stored.

What Exactly is the Point?

Given the uniqueness of DNA to every individual it is a very important tool for solving crimes. DNA is relatively easy to sample and can be gathered from the smallest traces of blood, saliva, a cigarette end, an envelope and many other alternative DNA sources. A DNA sample at a crime scene can be matched to that of a potential suspect, or better, it can matched to the DNA profiles stored in databases to see if there is a match with anyone’s DNA in the database. From a police or forensic perspective the database is a central criminal identifying tool, it can help people to feel secure that criminals will be found; for the ordinary person however, it feels like breaking a copyright law.

Prostitution and DNA Profiling using Mouth Swab

Dallas, Texas, the police are taking DNA samples from prostitutes to help identify them should they be missing or murdered. People have expressed outrage; by taking DNA samples from prostitutes the police are protecting those who are already guilty of a criminal offence. The police are working hand in hand with the FBI to help solve the thousand of highway murders involving prostitutes. In order to curb the problem of prostitution, Dallas police set up a stand to arrest prostitutes and offer them the chance to join a rehabilitation program in conjunction with the chance to have their DNA profiled. DNA profiling will involve police using a mouth swab and rubbing this on the inside of the prostitute’s mouth so as to gather cheek cells. The DNA information derived from these cheek cells will be stored with all the necessary details. Prostitution is a high risk job and these women are vulnerable. The measure does not condone prostitution but rather acknowledges that it exists.

Some Worries

Although DNA is unique to every individual, there are varying degrees of similarities between individuals DNAs when they are related. The DNA found at the crime scene is used to construct a genetic profile and the loci between this genetic profile and the offender’s, compared and through this determine whether the person is the perpetrator or not. When comparing a suspect’s DNA profile to that found in DNA databases, police or people investigating the crime, might locate a partial match between DNAs; this would mean that close biological relatives of the perpetrator might be implicated in the crime.

Genetic profiling and DNA databases are very much alive, yet there are many loop holes, inconsistencies and flaws. DNA testing is indeed a blessing in many fields, solving issues of paternity, finding hereditary diseases, lost siblings, and of course crimes. But for what crimes specifically should people go on the database? And what about those who have committed no crime?