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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 ?
Overexpression of murine minor but not of major satellite DNA resulted in anaphase segregation errors (data no shown) compared to that of the pIneo2 control.
Kalitsis, "A survey of the genomic distribution of alpha satellite DNA on all the human chromosomes, and derivation of a new consensus sequence," Nucleic Acids Research, vol.
Miller, "The organization of the mouse satellite DNA at centromeres," Experimental Cell Research, vol.
Rather than a microsatellite, it contained several (AC/TG) repeats that were part of a tandem repeated satellite DNA.
It seems that these satellite DNA sequences have been conserved during evolution as they are found in all diploid and polyploid species carrying the A or C genome.
In situ analysis of centromeric satellite DNA segregating in Mus species crosses.
Genome distribution, chromosomal allocation, and organization of the major and minor satellite DNAs in 11 species and subspecies of the genus Mus.
Direct sequencing of genomic DNA for characterisation of a satellite DNA in five species of Eastern Pacific abalone.
Comparative analysis of different satellite DNAs in four Mytilus species.
Satellite DNA is usually found near centromeres or telomeres (John and Miklos, 1979; Miklos, 1985).
If satellite DNA is not functionally significant, then recombination leading to unequal crossover is a mechanism by which it can change in abundance in a genome.
As data on transposable elements become available for other mammalian species (with different retrotransposons, heterochromatin compositions, satellite DNAs, and sex-chromosome morphologies), perhaps a more generally applicable model accounting for all observations can be formulated.

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