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What are some advantages and disadvantages of DNA profiling?

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Quick Answer

DNA profiling has the advantages of helping identify potential genetic diseases and helping law enforcement officers identify criminals. Disadvantages of DNA profiling include the possibility for error and the potential for the information to be used for nefarious purposes.

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Full Answer

DNA profiling is often used by couples who are considering having children but are worried about genetic disease. It allows these couples to determine the risk of their children being born with these diseases and can help avoid a great deal of suffering. However, the risk of error in these test results can cause couples to make decisions based on false information.

DNA profiling is also often used for law enforcement purposes. It allows police to reliably identify suspects and can help eliminate innocent people from a pool of suspects. The advent of more-reliable DNA profiling has helped police solve murders decades after they occurred. It has also exonerated innocent people who were wrongly convicted.

However, there are concerns about privacy and how this data is used. Some people worry that governments may use DNA records to discriminate against groups they consider undesirable. The information is stored in computer databases, so it may be vulnerable to hackers. DNA profiling can also be susceptible to errors or contamination that result in a false match, implicating an innocent person. It can also be planted at crime scenes and make it nearly impossible for an innocent person to clear his name.

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