Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DNA databases - revisited   posted by the @ 5/24/2006 11:42:00 PM

In my recent post, A DNA database nation?, I commented that including everyone in a criminal DNA database would solve several ethical concerns with their current and expected use.

You can get a sense of the utility and concerns about DNA databases by reading the latest issue of Genomics, Society and Policy, which is apparently open to public access. Articles cover a number of topics:

* Should police be able to access DNA samples collected for other purposes?
* The importance of taking DNA samples from seemingly 'trivial' crimes -- many violent offenders had an earlier arrest for non-violent crimes
* The inclusion of children in the British DNA database
* The expansion of DNA profiling from the mere matching of samples with people to the prediction of race, physical traits, and behavioral traits from DNA samples
* Genetics of criminal behavior
* An interesting case study of DNA profiling from Norway

I'll conclude by pointing out that most of these concerns could be circumvented if the DNA database was universal with sample collection delinked from criminal behavior.