DNA Profiling: Boon or Curse?

Forensic Science is an aid used by the judicial system to help convict or exonerate individuals. Methodology and techniques from various fields are utilized legally to assist in court proceedings. The basic purpose of forensic science is to analyze and examine obtained evidence by qualified and intellectual professionals.

The crime rate today is at an all-time high. Forensic Science, on the other hand, is available to aid in any form of the police investigation. Forensic scientists and experts assess and examine evidence gathered by crime scene investigators and police officers using scientific procedures and theories. Forensic scientists and experts not only produce reports and testimony in court, but they also convict or exonerate individuals based on the inspection and evaluation of the evidence. They do not assess the suspect directly, but rather rely on evidence to arrive at a conclusion and respond accordingly.

The benefits of forensic science might be used in both criminal and civil matters. Many different forms of clues and evidence are utilized to convict suspects and exonerate innocent people. Fingerprints, DNA, Dental Recognition, Blood, Striation on the bullet, etc. are the most effective and dependable evidences.

From the aforementioned individual evidence, DNA has shown to be the most popular and has the highest number of convictions. Alec Jeffreys, a genetic profiler, was the first to employ DNA profiling to solve a case in 1986, catching the criminal Collin Pitchfork. This was the first time authorities employed DNA profiles to help solve a crime.

Cold cases have also been solved using DNA. It not only assists in convicting the guilty, but it also allows for the exoneration of innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted. Only in the United States, roughly 375 people have been exonerated kudos to DNA profiling, including 21 people who were serving death sentences.

The Supreme Court acknowledged DNA findings as a scientifically precise and exact science in the case of Santosh Kumar Singh v. State through the CBI. The accused’s guilt is definitively established through a DNA fingerprinting test. In a science like DNA profiling, the court stated that a judge cannot substitute his view for that of an expert. The DNA from the semen stains on the deceased’s underwear, as well as the swabs and slides, came “from a single source, and that source was the appellant,” according to two experts.

There have been several instances of erroneous convictions based entirely on DNA evidence. DNA profiling is a gift to forensic science, but like anything else, it has a downside. Even a boon can sometimes result in a miscarriage of justice. Collection of evidence, maintaining chain of custody, and storing samples and evidence with the necessary precautions are all important, yet they can get spoilt, deteriorated, or contaminated without warning due to a variety of situations. This calls into doubt the evidence’s authenticity and dependability. And, when it comes to expert opinion, there’s always the possibility of human mistake, and their view may also be prejudiced, so the judiciary has resisted relying on it.

Here are a few examples of wrongful convictions: Based on a DNA profile match, a person with Parkinson’s disease who was unable to walk without help was convicted of burglary. In another example, a man was wrongfully convicted of raping a minor in 2011 due to an inaccurate DNA sample.

These are just a few examples of faulty applications, but more innocent people have fallen victim to this method, not because profiling is wrong, but because of some of the factors that turn this boon into a curse in no time, such as a lack of training, incorrect sampling, cross-contamination, contaminated evidence, false confession, degraded evidence, mixed evidence, and so on.

As a result, everything has two sides, one good and one bad. The same may be said for DNA profiling. It aids in the conviction of suspects and the exoneration of innocent, but it also results in incorrect conviction owing to uncontrolled factors and a lack of training. DNA has been proven to be the most reliable evidence, and without a doubt, individuals have received justice as a result of its usage; yet, it is sometimes preferable to consider all aspects of a case rather than relying just on one factor.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • If unwound and linked together, the strands of DNA in each of your cells would be 6 feet long.
  • We’re all 99.9 percent alike.
  • Genes make up only about 3 percent of your DNA.
  • DNA Tests can help you understand your risk for genetic diseases.
  • A DNA test can reveal you’re more Irish than your siblings.
  • Human shares about 40-50% of their DNA with cabbage and banana.
  • Human shares 60% of genes with fruit flies.
  • The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA.
  • In Forensic Science DNA testing looks at 13 specific segments of DNA.

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