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Identification of Unknown Bodies using DNA - Research Paper Example

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They are easily deformed due to injuries and scratches, and even suffer from the risk of being misinterpreted. Owing to technological advancements, fingerprint analysis has now been replaced by DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) analysis. Like fingerprints, the DNA of every individual is unique. This fact can be exploited for the determination of the identity of an individual by studying his/her DNA. DNA from hair, skin and nails, or even traces of semen or blood holds the key for the successful identification of a body, through the technique of DNA fingerprinting, also called DNA profiling or typing. DNA fingerprinting has been in use in forensic science since the time of its inception, and has helped in the identification of criminals, missing persons, murder victims and even ancient bodies. This paper discusses how forensic detectives use DNA to identify unknown bodies. A brief history of DNA analysis is also reviewed. A few incidents in which unknown dead bodies have been successfully identified based on DNA analysis are also discussed. I. Use of DNA for Identification A. Why DNA? As indicated earlier, the DNA of every individual is unique. About three million bases, equal to “one-tenth of a single percent of DNA”, varies among individuals (BERIS, 2009). ...
In some cases, the body parts of a victim of a gruesome murder or a mass disaster (both natural, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and man-made, such as bomb blasts or a plane crash) are burned or charred, and sometimes are even separated from one another. Most military casualties are also unidentifiable. Traditional methods of identification such as those involving fingerprints and odontology (dental records) require intact fingers and jawbones of the victim along with his previously recorded and documented fingerprints and dental records, to enable their comparison and subsequent identification of the victim (Butler, 2009, p. 404). In absence of these samples and records, DNA analysis is the method of choice as DNA can be extracted from any sample of the body, even from traces of tissues or blood from clothing or other material. Minute quantities of DNA can be amplified using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). For the identification of an individual, about 13 regions/loci of DNA are examined for creating a DNA profile. Except for identical twins, the odds of two individuals having the same DNA profile are negligible, about one in a billion (BERIS, 2009). B. History of DNA Analysis – DNA Fingerprinting/typing/profiling Alec Jeffreys, an English geneticist was the first to describe DNA fingerprinting in 1985 (Butler, 2009, p.4). He observed that certain sequences in some parts of the DNA repeat over and over again. The fact that these repetitive sequences, now called VNTRs (Variable Number of Tandem Repeats), vary in length among different individuals gave rise to the possibility of using these variations for identifying and ...Show more
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Running head: IDENTIFICATION OF UNKNOWN BODIES USING DNA Identification of Unknown Bodies using DNA Insert Name Here Insert Affiliation Here Identification of Unknown Bodies using DNA The identification of an unknown body is perhaps one of the most daunting tasks for forensic detectives…
Identification of Unknown Bodies using DNA
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