DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. In humans, a copy of your DNA is in every one of your 100 trillion cells. All of these copies of DNA help determine your traitsTraits are characteristics such as eye color, the color your hair will be, facial structure, blood type, and other attributes of all living creatures. (Citation 7)

DNA has a multitude of uses, some of which include figuring out how organisms work, determining if individuals are related, and birth defects. 

DNA can also be used to identify individuals using the technique of DNA fingerprinting, also known as DNA profiling. DNA fingerprinting helps identify individuals because DNA varies from person to person. No one has the the same DNA fingerprint, just like no one has the same thumb print. When looking at a DNA fingerprint, identifying family members is possible because the DNA will share similar sections. (Citation 7)

DNA can be extracted from hairs, skin cells, and bodily fluids.

There are various ways of comparing different strands of DNA. RFLP, or restriction fragment length polymorphism, generally requires a longer strand of DNA, while PCR (polymerase chain reaction) does not require a fragment as long. STR (short tandem repeat), Y-chromosome, and mitochondrial analysis are types of PCR testing. (Citation 6)


Molecular view of DNA.

 A molecular view of DNA. (Image 9)

Many people do not agree with the way DNA testing is conducted. They say it is an invasion of privacy for DNA to be stored in databases like CODIS and NDIS. Click HERE to learn more about the ethical, social, and legal issues involved in DNA testing.


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