Dna Is The New Scientific Method Criminology Essay

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The topic of DNA and how it correlates with identical twins I found to be quite interesting. In taking forensic crime scene investigations, I feel this is a very relative topic to this course. In covering how investigations are resolved using science, and the aspect of DNA of identical twins puts a whole new twist on solving crimes committed by such individuals who carry these distinct characteristics. What was once a collection of general physical evidence is now taken into labs for forensic scientists to analyze these components from DNA. This is an innovative way to fighting crime, sparing the innocent and wrongfully convicted lengthy prison sentences; or even death.


When we hear about DNA in relation to the criminal justice system we generally think of saliva blood or bodily fluids. Burns informs us "the tests could include saliva, hair, vaginal fluid, soft bone, and deep muscle tissue" (Burns). Even though today DNA analysis is used more often than years ago, it is quite minimal in its use to distinguishing identical twins. As mentioned, identical twins only make up a minimal amount of the population, thus an even smaller portion involved in criminal acts to warrant DNA testing. Had more DNA testing been done years ago, there would possibly be less prison overcrowding; last tax dollars being spent on outrageous incarceration sentences. In the case of The Evil Twins, due to the use of DNA, potential suspects were decreased down to the twins only; two possible suspects (Burns 126). This is rare in the criminal justice system. This supports the fact that DNA testing is well worth it. When it comes to the expert witness usually forensic scientists testifying in criminal cases, it is sometimes hard for laypersons to comprehend the use process in which DNA is used. Much of this is due to the fact that in order to comprehend DNA testing and analysis, and expert witness must use simplified terminology as they present these processes (Burns 124). Due to the rise in DNA requests and courts, its quality findings are ever so popular and in high demand. Due to the overwhelming request, DNA labs are falling short of the needed manpower to fulfill such high numbers of requests. On the flip side to this, forensic sciences are also in high demand. Thus this profession looks very optimistic to those seeking employment in this area of work now, and in the future. Unfortunately in the case of The Evil Twins, DNA was not enough as the results ended in a hung jury. This was largely due to failure of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the victim failed to identify the tattoo of one of the evil Twins (Burns 125). Many believe DNA is a win-win situation in the court system. In reading this article we learn between three and 10 serious crimes annually result in twins being main suspects. Quite similarly, issues of paternity are second next to criminal activity in which DNA is used involving twins (Burns 126). We can give thanks to Sir Alec Jeffries, who "developed the first DNA profiling test in 1984, and two years later he applied it for the first time to solve crimes by identifying Colin pitchfork as the murderer of two young English girls"(Fairbanks et al. 13).


I personally accept as true the material of this article as being quite informative, provided a great scenario, and explained the DNA process accurately and how it works in our criminal justice system. On the contrary, there are still many public concerns and false beliefs when it comes to the topic of DNA. As I mentioned earlier "many believe DNA is a win-win situation in the criminal justice system." But as we look have learned this is a myth. In regard to identical twins, the writer discussed fingerprints of common people as well as identical twins. He also explains how they differ. What the author failed to mention was many common similarities among twins and their DNA makeup unknown to many people. According to the article Do Identical Twins Have the Same Fingerprints? Commonalities of identical twins are discussed which make the fact that separate fingerprints are even more shocking to learn about after reading the article, Evil Twins: And How DNA is Useless Against Them. "Common differences revolve around features like birthmarks, moles, hair patterns and teeth development. Look below the scanned, and you'll find even bigger differences in their personalities"(Do Identical Twins). In this particular article, a study was conducted to find various variables amongst identical twins. The findings of the study were as follows: "most of any one person's DNA, some 99.9% is exactly the same as any other persons DNA. (Identical twins are the exception with 100% similarity)"(Do Identical Twins). This study basically concludes there is no difference in identical twins DNA whatsoever. Question is if this study proved true, how are the fingerprints different then?


In response to the above question, I agree with me author Burns and his delivery of the information offered in the article, Evil Twins. In the preservation of DNA types for analysis, DNA databanks and the Combined DNA Index System (Fig.1,CODIS) are among the best facilities to preserve and have readily available, and easy assessable DNA samples.

After the events of 9/11, agencies are working together toward one common goal making this possible in the criminal justice system all across the United States of America. Unlike the automated fingerprint identification system database which only

(Fig-1.CODIS-National Institute)

holds fingerprints, CODIS contains DNA of certain convicted felons. These felons usually are convicted of violent crimes, particularly murder rape and child abuse. When requested DNA profiles are entered into CODIS and "law enforcement officers have the ability to identify possible suspects when no prior suspect existed"(Dept. of Justice). The CODIS appears to be an important asset to criminal justice system. DNA databanks (Fig.2-DNA) are facilities which preserve various types of DNA.

Scientists utilize information from DNA databanks whereas applicable.

Unlike CODIS, large DNA databanks have assisted scientists in "biotechnological

(Fig.2-DNA Databank, Cenage)

advances in molecular biology, particularly with the completion of the human genome sequence" (DNA).This type of terminology is foreign to many an inconceivable to others, however, it does exist and we as citizens need to become more educated about its purpose in regard to short and long-term outcomes. According to DNA Databanks:

A DNA databank is essentially a storage facility that maintains DNA extracted from a variety of sources from an individual including bloods, saliva, hair, skin, or other kinds of tissue (muscle, liver, etc.). Since DNA in the proper storage conditions can be indefinitely, creating DNA databanks conserver variety of purposes that include screening for disease genes, paternity testing, identity matching for criminal in investigations, and research-related studies. (DNA)

The Armed Forces Pathology Institute DNA repository is a database which contains active service members, both men and women, who work in perilous and capricious areas (DNA).

As of 2008 there was no countrywide DNA databank in the U.S. other than CODIS which was implemented in 1990 (DNA). Throughout the years, CODIS has proven to be quite beneficial as have data DNA databanks. As of 2008 there have also been 1000+ cases which have reaped the benefits of CODIS. Currently states deal with DNA profiles of convicted felons to be placed in a DNA database. This is done so incarcerated individuals are assessable for their past crimes through DNA analysis procedures. If we take a look at "Lockard's Exchange Principle", we know that this is true in cases in which DNA can act as evidence tying suspects to particular crimes. However, it is not enough to pinpoint the identity of identical twins and make a distinction between them at the same crime scene to the same crime scene and the last there are distinguishable latent fingerprints. This in itself proves that DNA is not a win-win situation.

If the criminal justice system would place more money into the prosecution of serious cases involving DNA evidence and testing, this could save lots of money in the long run. Finally, I predict many more DNA cases will be proven as successful as we move into a more technologically advanced, scientifically and knowledgeably aware society. At that time all can be 100% sure that DNA will be society's number one crime fighting and solving asset.