Forensic aspects of DNA-based human identity testing

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Abstract

The forensic applications of DNA-based human identity laboratory testing are often underappreciated. Molecular biology has seen an exponential improvement in the accuracy and statistical power provided by identity testing in the past decade. This technology, dependent upon an individual's unique DNA sequence, has cemented the use of DNA technology in the forensic laboratory. This paper will discuss the state of modern DNA-based identity testing, describe the technology used to perform this testing, and describe its use as it relates to forensic applications. We will also compare individual technologies, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern Blotting, that are used to detect the molecular differences that make all individuals unique. An increasing reliance on DNA-based identity testing dictates that healthcare providers develop an understanding of the background, techniques, and guiding principles of this important forensic tool.

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