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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 ?
In this paper, we propose a new technique based on Marple algorithm and wavelet packets transform with the Code13 numerical mapping approach to improve the accuracy of identification of the protein coding regions in the eukaryotic DNA sequences.
Eukaryotic DNA replication starts at multiple sites throughout the genome.
Bacterial and eukaryotic DNA useto determine the specificity of the real-time PCR Bacterial DNA Source/strain Bordetella pertussis Clinical specimen Chlamydia trachomatis Clinical specimen Chlamydophila pneumoniae ATCC VR-1310 Criblamydia sequanensis CRIB-18 Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212 Escherichia coli ATCC 35218 Gardnerella vaginalis Clinical specimen Haemophilus influenzae ATCC 49247 Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC 27736 Lactobacillus spp.
Also, eukaryotic DNA is much longer, with an average gene size of 10,000 nucleotides."
The remaining 19 query sequences had no eukaryotic DNA homology or protein similarity to public databases (17/19) or showed similarity to animal DNA sequences only (2/19).
Senapathy says eukaryotic DNA is similar to a randomly generated series of DNA subunits--and, he hypothesizes, to the randomly organized bits of genetic material in the "primordial soup.'
Exploring gene expression and epigenetics, contributors from a wide range of medical specialties look first at eukaryotic DNA methylation, then at how to integrate genomic medicine into clinical practice.

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