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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 ?
Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP): A deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence variation that results from the exchange of only a single DNA building block (i.e., nucleotide), useful as markers.
This is in bold contrast to deoxyribonucleic acid and protein concentrations, which show that when zymogens have damaged the acinar tissue, the protein synthesis has greatly decreased.
He said, 'We helped out our law enforcement agencies to find out the culprits on the basis of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)'.
Modern life has settled on a tried-and-true plan, with the starring molecules consisting of proteins and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
They cover all foods produced on the basis of GMOs, without making any distinction between those containing DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and genetic modifications in the chromosomes, on the one hand, and those containing proteins derived from GMOs, on the other.
Actual Innocence by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer explores the science of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis and examines its importance not only as a crime-fighting tool but as a truth-finding tool that has assisted in winning the freedom of dozens of people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes that they never committed.
GAO-02-488R March 6, 2002 Text The National Interagency Canada Lynx Survey (Protocol) was designed to determine the presence of Canada lynx through deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis of hair samples recovered from scratch pads in forests in the northern United States.
Inside a cell's nucleus, each gene is embedded in two coiled strands of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
farmers increase their output of crops with altered DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the EU is tightening controls on the modified crops.
It was now known that nucleic acids were large and very complex molecules, especially since Avery had shown that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and not protein was the carrier of physical characteristics (see 1944).
He explained the bodies of Muslim Orang Asli would be buried soon after the post-mortem and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests were conducted.

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