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n. scientifically, deoxyribonucleic acid, a chromonal double chain (the famous "double helix") in the nucleus of each living cell the combination of which determines each individual's hereditary characteristics. In law, the importance is the discovery that each person's DNA is different and is found in each living cell, so a hair, blood, skin or any part of the body can be used to identify and distinguish an individual from all other people. DNA testing can result in proof of one's involvement or lack of involvement in a crime scene. While recent DNA tests have proved a convicted killer on death row did not commit a crime and resulted in his release, current debate concerns whether DNA evidence is scientifically certain enough to be admitted in trials. The trend is strongly in favor of admission.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, a chemical which is found in virtually every cell in the body and which carries genetic information. Except for identical twins, each person's DNA is unique. DNA profiling doesn't allow the examination of every single difference between people's DNA so the concentration will be on those aspects which are most likely to yield a difference. DNA can be extracted from any cells that contain a structure called the nucleus, for example, blood, semen, saliva or hair.

Mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from a person's mother. Brothers and sisters have the same mitochondrial DNA type as their mother. This feature of mitochondrial DNA can be used for body identification. The γ-chromosome is present only in men and is largely unchanged as it passes through the male line of a family. The usefulness of the technique in criminal matters is vastly enhanced by the extent to which it is possible to compare a sample with other individuals. To this end there is a National DNA Database maintained by the ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS and managed by the FORENSIC SCIENCE SERVICE. Techniques vary. There is a UK offence of DNA theft. It is also of assistance in paternity matters.

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Characterization of indigenous Musa species based on flow cytometric analysis of ploidy and nuclear DNA content.
Their expression levels are positively correlated with MDA, 8-OHdG, WBCs count, and sperm nuclear DNA fragmentation % while it is negatively correlated with seminal TAC.
PD patients (compared with controls) exhibited higher nuclear DNA level (mean [+ or -] standard deviation; 41.31 [+ or -] 29.95 versus 10.92 [+ or -] 8.17; p < 0.001) and mitochondrial DNA level (mean [+ or -] standard deviation; 42.70 [+ or -] 26.01 versus 24.56 [+ or -] 28.80; p = 0.023).
Its nuclear DNA is then transferred to a fertilised donor egg, containing healthy mitochondria, whose own nuclear DNA has been removed.
The cloned "banteng" may have the nuclear DNA of a banteng, but its mitochondrial DNA (a lesser but still critical genetic component found outside of the nucleus and passed on only maternally) comes from the egg of a cow.
Skeleton Unlike nuclear DNA, found in the hearts of cells, mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from mothers.
In addition, mitochondria contain their own genomes, which code for specific proteins and are expressed in coordination with nuclear DNA to regulate the provision of energy to cells.
Because of this it is less subject to change from recombination than nuclear DNA, which is the product of both parents.
According to the company, the PLEX-ID analyzer is capable of running both mtDNA and nuclear DNA forensics assays in a single, fully automated run.
Scientists now plan to use nuclear DNA tests to determine if the woman and child are related, Tate said.
Therefore, sperms are vulnerable to oxygen induced damage which leads to lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA damage.
"The DNA technique, the nuclear DNA, is the one and only technique, if properly conducted, that has an extraordinarily high odds against a misidentification," said University of Arizona professor of chemistry and geoscience Bonner Denton.

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