DNA Fingerprinting

     One in a Million DNA fingerprinting (the use of a personís DNA to identify
them) has become a hot topic in the field of law enforcement as well as the
entire world. The controversy exists on whether or not it should be admitted in
court as evidence at this time. Some experts believe that the present technology
allows DNA fingerprinting to be used in cases for positive identification (proof
that the DNA match was at the scene of the crime) because of the extreme
unlikeness that a "tampered" tissue cell could come up with an exact match.

The chances are stated to be somewhere between one in ten million and one in ten
billion. Other experts believe that since there is no current standard for labs
to test DNA samples and there is a possibility of great human error in a very
complicated ordered set (DNA) that a positive identification could be made on
someone who is far from the actual perpetrator. Both sides believe that DNA can
identify a person, they just disagree on whether or not that is possible at this
point in time. DNA fingerprinting takes a sample DNA (victims, suspects, etc.)
and counts the number of variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR) in a
personís DNA string. The repeats for four or five common repeating "gene
groups" are counted and compared to a known sample (again the suspect, victim,
etc.) for a match up. This may sound like scientists are only counting or four
or five numbers when in reality they are counting on four or five sets of many
numbers. The chances of similar numbers coming up in life (not the court case)
are between one in a million and one in a billion. The experts in favor of using

DNA fingerprinting now use the odds of one in a million having similar enough

DNA strands to even come close to misidentifying anyone. They believe that since
the contamination factor can come into play the evidence should only be used to
identify for positive proof. The chances that a contaminated sample could come
close to matching with a suspectís sample are even worse than the one in a
billion odds mentioned before. These experts believe that using four or five
sets of numbers clears any doubt of verification once and for all. The experts
who believe it shouldnít be used claim that our present technology disrupts
the accuracy of actual DNA fingerprinting. They agree the odds of misidentifying
are slim, but they are still too large to accept in a court of law. An example
they use is the miscalculation factor in VNTRs. The difference between 109 and

119 is so slim that it could be calculated as the same by todayís standards
when in truth that may be a different person all together. The factor of human
error is easy to see also, especially in the case of Jose Castro when witnesses
for both the defense and the prosecution found the evidence analyzing techniques
inadequate (it should be noted that the defendant did plead guilty to the crime
of murder he was charged with and was found guilty). DNA fingerprinting is at a
very impressive standard at this time for identify people and there is no doubt
about whether or not it should be used in the future. At this point I would
assume that a one in a million chance is enough to be admissible in a court of
law for positive identification. I could not blame a state for not admitting it