Technology Within Forensic Genetic Science 

Abstract

How can a single skin cell help resolve 3 criminal cases from over 50 years prior? With today’s technology rapidly changing, crimes are increasing and criminals are getting increasingly clever; but even the littlest bit of DNA left at a crime scene can now be traced to a certain individual because of the new and improving genetic forensic technology. Developments in molecular genetics have made it possible to study the person-to-person differences in parts of DNA. The whole entire world is greatly affected by genetic forensic technology no matter they like it or not.

Each method of DNA typing has its own advantages and limitations, and each is at a different state of technical development. In its short history, automated fingerprint analysis has been credited with solving tens of thousands of crimes. DNA typing has a massive budding aid for criminal and civil justice; nonetheless, because of the potential misuses and/or abuses, imperative questions have raised about confidentiality, authenticity, and legality.

Security and confidentiality of DNA-related information are very important and difficult issues to discuss. But when will the innovations go to far? Research was done in different aspects to support all parts of the paper and highlight many opinions and views. From looking at journal’s through a library page from a high school page to being on the lookout of any online books that were accessible. The day will come when virtual-reality holograms are projected in the middle of the courtroom so the jurors can watch a total recreation of how the crime went down.

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In the future, morphometrics may be used to identify the skeletal remains of missing children, something which is extremely challenging for current forensic experts. We are in the middle of an unprecedented technological revolution that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Technology Within Forensic Genetic Science

Typing or characterization of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for the purposes of criminal investigations can be seen as an extension of the forensic typing of blood that has been common for over 50 years. DNA typing can be a powerful addition to forensic science. With today’s technology rapidly changing, crimes are increasing and criminals are getting more clever; but even the littlest bit of DNA left at a crime scene can now be traced to an individual because of the new and improving genetic forensic technology. How can a single skin cell help resolve 3 criminal cases from over 50 years prior? Our DNA is everywhere – it can be transferred by saliva from talking, sneezing, coughing and more commonly by shedding skin cells. (Committee, 1992) There is even DNA present in house dust! So DNA from individuals who have nothing to do with a crime might be present at a crime scene which makes crime scenes inevitably contaminated.

Background

Inception and Chronology

The first known evidence of fingerprints were found in paintings and rock cravings from 700 BCE. Sir Francis Galton published “Fingerprints”, the first comprehensive book on the nature of fingerprints and their use in solving crimes in 1892. On July 26th, 1908, The Federal Bureau of Investigation was created by J. Edgar Hoover in Washington D.C.. In 1915 the International Association for Criminal Identification, was organized in Oakland, California. It later became The International Association of Identification (IAI). The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime laboratory was created in 1932. The FBI introduced the beginnings of its Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) with the first computerized scans of fingerprints in 1977. The method of DNA forensic testing was first used in casework in 1985 in the United Kingdom and first used in the United States by commercial laboratories in late 1986 and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1988. Later in 1996; in Tennessee v. Ware, mitochondrial DNA typing was admitted for the first time in a U.S. court. A few years later the FBI upgraded its computerized fingerprint database and implemented the (IAFIS), allowing paperless submission, storage and search capabilities directly to the national database maintained at the FBI. An important technique used in such analyses is the ‘Southern blot,’ developed by Edwin Southern in 1975. (Making, 2017) (Admin, 2015)

Technical Considerations

Forensic DNA typing generally comprises of specimen that is degraded, corrupt, or from numerous foreign sources. Its agenda sometimes cannot be duplicated, because there is insufficient sample size. It often requires matching of samples from an immense scope of substitution in the population and requires coherence checks which it can’t always do. (National, 1992) Except in cases where the DNA evidence rules out a suspect, estimating the magnitude of the outcome requires analytical analysis of population abundance.

Current Pros and Cons of the Technology

Each method of DNA typing has its own advantages and limitations, and each is at a different state of technical development.

Pros

Advancements in forensic DNA techniques mean that we can now detect minute traces of DNA.

“The current use of DNA technology appears to pose no greater threat to the right to privacy than does normal fingerprinting, placement of photographs in evidence, collection of blood or saliva samples, or other established forensic techniques.” (Committee, 1992)

DNA samples do not degrade over time like other forms of forensic evidence. As long as a proper chain of custody and storage is followed, the evidence collected with DNA on it can be stored indefinitely. By having DNA samples that will not deteriorate, can and will allow the current research projects happening today to continue hapeningin 50-100 years into the future.

Cons

DNA typing has a massive budding aid for criminal and civil justice; nonetheless, because of the potential misuses and/or abuses, imperative questions have raised about confidentiality, authenticity, and legality. Security and confidentiality of DNA-related information are very important and difficult issues to discuss. The presence of DNA does not solve cases and it doesn’t necessarily explain when or how it got there; or the body tissue it came from. Thus, the situation has become increasingly fundamental, DNA needs to be viewed in context of other evidence because results can be easily skewed. It’s an important detection tool, but it’s certainly not a detective. We are in the middle of an unprecedented technological revolution that shows no signs of stopping. But when will the innovations go to far? DNA analysis has revolutionised forensic science. However, forensic experts have raised concerns that how DNA can be used in criminal investigations and in court is often misunderstood and misrepresented. (Making, 2017) The more data banks are established, the greater the risk of breaches of confidentiality and misuse of the information at had.

Forecasting the Future

For police, prosecuting attorneys, criminologists, and forensic scientists alike, emerging technologies will almost certainly revolutionize the future of forensic science, making the capture and conviction of criminals increasingly likely. These technologies can help investigators in missing persons cases, cold cases, sexual assault cases, and murder cases.

Future Technologies

3-D technology is commonplace in movies and on TV. Many criminal prosecutions are already presented through computer-aided reconstruction to lay out the scene, bullet paths, vehicle motions, and blood-spatter patterns. The day will come when virtual-reality holograms are projected in the middle of the courtroom so the jurors can watch a total recreation of how the crime went down. In the future, morphometrics (the measurement of body shapes) may be used to identify the skeletal remains of missing children, something which is extremely challenging for current forensic experts. Skull shape allows anthropologists to distinguish various geographical population groups. Now, these scientists will be able to apply this procedure to younger individuals than ever before. In one case, Ross was able to determine the Mesoamerican origin of a ten-year-old boy’s remains, making his facial reconstruction possible. Before this breakthrough, it was thought that only the skeletal remains of people 18 or older could be identified.

Future Pros

An application of this new discipline that has recently captured the interest of scientists and the public is the possibility of predicting physical appearance. Last September, a study led by the biotechnology mogul J. Craig Venter presented a system that was supposedly able to identify the face of an individual from their genome. (Butler, 2015) The results indicated that the algorithm used was correct 70% of the time when selecting the correct face from a collection of twenty. As technology rapidly advances, a greater array of industries are adopting virtual reality (VR) in order to achieve their goals. One field where VR is emerging is in forensics, where increasingly powerful tools can allow parties on all sides of an issue to broaden their perspectives of an incident, ultimately leading to better-informed conclusions.

Future Cons- Potential Misuses and Abuses

Cost will play a role in the future use of DNA in forensic science. Important factors influencing cost include competition, centralization and communication. Thus, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for the future of forensic DNA. A reason that new innovation of technology may be slow or non-existent associates to endorsements requirements for methods used in forensic operations. (Butler, 2015) Slow technology ratification by the forensic community can cause few companies from wanting to invest in long-term endeavors to deliver new products to market where an investment return may be slower than it is in other fields. The inspection that products and manufacturing processes can undergo during antagonistic legal action may also keep potential companies out of the forensic DNA marketplace. The future is very unknow and very unpredictable but one spin on it has spawned from many cartoon artist twisting what is said to be true and what and perseption. Satirical art like (Fingerprints) which show cases how in the future fingerprints will only be used in criminal cases while completly disregaurding othe evidence. Fingerprints will dehamize and start taking over the importance of faces in criinal lineups with witness and jurors. In the case of virtual reality technology, for example, simulations could be recreated to view the scene of the crime from the perspective of a certain individual. (VR/AR) This could lead to a possible bias in the courtroom among a jury.

References

  1. Admin. (2015, September 30). The History of DNA Timeline. Retrieved from https://www.dna-worldwide.com/resource/160/history-dna-timeline
  2. Ayres, C. (n.d.). 10 Pivotal Pros and Cons of DNA Fingerprinting. Retrieved from https://vittana.org/10-pivotal-pros-and-cons-of-dna-fingerprinting
  3. Becker, W. (2019). 10 Modern Forensic Technologies Used Today – Forensics Colleges. Retrieved from https://www.forensicscolleges.com/blog/resources/10-modern-forensic-science-technologies
  4. Butler, John M. “The Future of Forensic DNA Analysis.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 370, no. 1674, 2015, p. 20140252., doi:10.1098/stors.2014.0252. Retrieved from https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2014.0252#d3e832
  5. Committee on DNA Technology in Forensic Science, et al. DNA Technology in Forensic Science. NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS, 1992, THE NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS, www.nap.edu/read/1866/chapter/1
  6. Fingerprints Cartoons and Comics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2019, from https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/fingerprints.asp
  7. Greitzer, F., & Hohimer, R. (2011). Modeling Human Behavior to Anticipate Insider Attacks. Journal of Strategic Security, 4(2), 25-48. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/26463925
  8. Home — Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.ultra-forensictechnology.com/en/
  9. Making Sense of Forensic Genetics. (2017, January 25). Retrieved from https://senseaboutscience.org/activities/making-sense-of-forensic-genetics/
  10. National Research Council (US) Committee on DNA Technology in Forensic Science. DNA Technology in Forensic Science. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1992. Summary. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK234547/
  11. Phillips, M. (2008). Crime Scene Genetics: Transforming Forensic Science through Molecular Technologies. BioScience,58(6), 484-489. doi:10.1641/b580604. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1641/b580604
  12. Shepherd, R. (2019). How to identify a body: the Marchioness disaster and my life in forensic pathology. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/apr/18/how-to-identify-a-body-the-marchioness-disaster-and-my-life-in-forensic-pathology
  13. Smith, R. ‘Forensic Technology.’ The Science Teacher, Feb. 2012, p. 79+. Academic OneFile,http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A495853504/AONE?u=wils35649&sid=AONE&xid=7617d866
  14. Syracuse Arts Sciences. (2018, Jan 23). New Technology for Forensic Discovery. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiDv_u8fOk0
  15. Top 10 Cutting-Edge Innovations In The Future Of Forensic Science. (2017, June 11). Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2017/06/12/top-10-cutting-edge-innovations-in-the-future-of-forensic-science/
  16. VR/AR and the Future of Forensic Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.forensicscolleges.com/blog/resources/forensics-and-vr

Appendix A

  1. Fingerprints Cartoons and Comics. (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2019, from https://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/f/fingerprints.asp

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Technology Within Forensic Genetic Science . (2021, Apr 06). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/technology-within-forensic-genetic-science-essay

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