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DNA

Overview#

DNA is an Abbreviation of Deoxyribonucleic Acid.

Privacy Considerations#

DNA reveals an extraordinary amount of private information about us. Our DNA contains our entire genetic makeup. The Genome can reveal where our ancestors came from, who we are related to, our physical characteristics, and whether we are likely to get various genetically-determined diseases. Researchers have also theorized DNA may predict race, intelligence, criminality, sexual orientation, and even political ideology.

DNA collected from one person can be used to track down and implicate family members, even if those family members have never willingly donated their own DNA to a database. In 2012, researchers used genetic genealogy databases and publicly-available information to identify nearly 50 people from just three original anonymized samples. The police have used familial DNA searching to tie family members to unsolved crimes.

Once the United States federal government collects a DNA sample—no matter which United States Federal Agency does the collecting—the sample is sent to the FBI for storage, and the extracted profile is incorporated into the FBI’s massive CODIS database, which already contains over 13 million "offender" profiles ("detainees" are classified as "offenders"). It is next to impossible to get DNA expunged from the database, and once it’s in CODIS it is subject to repeated warrantless searches from all levels of US State and federal Law Enforcement Agency. Those searches have implicated people for crimes they didn’t commit.

DNA sequencing is the process of determining the Deoxyribonucleic Acid sequence – the order of nucleotides in DNA. It includes any method or technology that is used to determine the order of the four bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. The advent of rapid DNA sequencing methods has greatly accelerated biological and medical research and discovery.[1][2]

Knowledge of DNA sequences has become indispensable for basic biological research, and in numerous applied fields such as medical diagnosis, biotechnology, forensic biology, virology and biological systematics. Comparing healthy and mutated DNA sequences can diagnose different diseases including various cancers,[3] characterize antibody repertoire,[4] and can be used to guide patient treatment.[5] Having a quick way to sequence DNA allows for faster and more individualized medical care to be administered, and for more organisms to be identified and cataloged.[4]

The rapid speed of sequencing attained with modern DNA sequencing technology has been instrumental in the sequencing of complete DNA sequences, or genomes, of numerous types and species of life, including the human genome and other complete DNA sequences of many animal, plant, and microbial species.

An example of the results of automated chain-termination DNA sequencing. The first DNA sequences were obtained in the early 1970s by academic researchers using laborious methods based on two-dimensional chromatography. Following the development of fluorescence-based sequencing methods with a DNA sequencer,[6] DNA sequencing has become easier and orders of magnitude faster.

More Information#

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