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Using DNA: The Dilemma! Facts for Kids

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Should we be allowed to use DNA in forensics? Bene and Mal are looking at this in their series Demanding Dilemmas!

DNA

How is DNA used?

OK imagine we’re at the scene of a crime. The house has been broken into, what a mess! There’s a great hole in the window and loads of broken glass.

However, before you get the dustpan and brush out, there might be fingerprints or DNA on it – that can be evidence! Forensic evidence!

Like fingerprints, everyone’s DNA is different and scientists can capture that information and keep it on file. They can get it from hair or blood samples or even where someone has touched something.

PRO

DNA is a really accurate way of identifying people, even more accurate than blood tests! And it’s far less tricky to get samples of DNA from people.

CON

However, DNA is part of our bodies though isn’t it? Don’t you think it’s a bit, I dunno, icky to have that on file. Surely bodies should be private! What if you don’t want to be on file?!

Certainly there are many people who don’t like the idea of biological information being used in this way or being held on file.

PRO

But when it leads to so many crimes being solved, perhaps the small loss of privacy is worth it. Plus, it could help prove your innocence too!

Some people who have been convicted and jailed for crimes, can be proven to be innocent thanks to DNA profiling. No one wants to be punished for something they didn’t do.

CON

Whilst DNA is incredibly accurate, we need to be sure that it is accurately collected and analysed. If the people doing the tests make a mistake that’d be awful – I mean none of us are perfect!

So as you can see it’s a right old Demanding Dilemma! What do you think? Let us know in the comment box below!

Remember, you can listen to Fun Kids on DAB Digital Radio in London and online across the UK! Click here to listen!

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Nuffield Council
Benny and Mal’s Demanding Dilemmas, with support from Nuffield Council on Bioethics. More details at www.nuffieldbioethics.org

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