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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 ?
Production of single-stranded DNA templates by exonuclease digestion following the polymerase chain reaction.
Comparison of resolution of double-stranded and single-stranded DNA in capillary electrophoresis.
The figure 3 shows one sperm with native double-stranded DNA (AO-) and one sperm with denatured single-stranded DNA (AO+).
Ling, "A sensitive fluorescence method for sequence-specific recognition of single-stranded DNA by using glucose oxidase," Analytical Methods, vol.
"Single-stranded DNA nanostructures formed via self-folding offer greater potential of being amplifiable, replicable, and clonable, and hence the opportunity for cost-efficient, large-scale production using enzymatic and biological replication, as well as the possibility for using in vitro evolution to produce sophisticated phenotypes and functionalities," said Yan.
Single-stranded DNA library preparation uncovers the origin and diversity of ultrashort cell-free DNA in plasma.
Geminiviruses are plant viruses having circular single-stranded DNA (ss-DNA) genome of size 2.6-2.8Kb transmitted by insect vectors.
To turn it back on, a new copy of single-stranded DNA is introduced bearing a signal that will reattach to the material's surface.
To turn the signal back on, all that is needed is to now introduce a new copy of single-stranded DNA bearing a signal that will reattach to the material's surface.
The term aptamer refers to a single-stranded DNA which folds in to three-dimensional structure and interacts with its specific target [10].
For example, DNA origami sheets containing single-stranded DNA probes complementary to a target sequence can act as molecular chips for detecting the presence of the target oligonucleotide [50].
To the Editor: Circular replication initiation protein (Rep)--encoding single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) (CRESSDNA) genomes are found in diverse group II virus families, which all possess a conserved Rep-encoding gene and a nonenveloped icosahedral capsid, except geminiviruses, which have twinned particles (1).

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