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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 ?
Scientists discovered that the strains had a unique DNA signature and they differed from other species in the way they "break down certain sugars and potassium salts," according to the report.
Furthermore, the unique DNA profile created does not reveal any information on genetic health or other characteristics such as hair, color, age, built, height, intelligence, except gender.
"The prints selected are part of our unique DNA and are some of our most iconic and most treasured designs.
"The home coding kits come with a DNA solution - each with its own unique DNA profile - that can be dabbed on valuable items to deter thieves, help police recover any stolen items and link offenders to break-ins.
X-Biotix was recently launched out of X-Chem, a privately held biotechnology company focused on applying its unique DNA encoding technology (DEXTM) platform to the generation of novel small molecule therapeutics, and through a collaboration with senior investigators in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School.
He made it clear that analysis of human DNA had shown that every individual had unique DNA sequence except identical twins; therefore, the DNA profile provid an excellent means to identify a criminal in a group of suspects.
It's important to realize that from the moment of conception, every cell in our bodies--skin, hair, heart, and lungs--contains our own unique DNA, and that DNA contains the chromosomes that determine whether we become male or female.
This "Hayflick limit" of cellular lifespan is directly related to the number of unique DNA repeats found at the ends of the genetic material-bearing chromosomes.
Also making its world debut, the new AYGO's unique DNA and stand-out positioning within the highly-competitive A-segment have been further strengthened.
Owen Mahoney, CEO of Nexon, also said "Lee and (former CEO) Park Ji-won, who is becoming Nexon's new global COO, will apply Nexon's unique DNA and knowhow to global markets and drive significant growth for the Nexon Group."
"These plants have unique DNA modifications that may translate intoincreased rubber and biomass.

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