Magazine article USA TODAY

DNA Fingerprinting Limited by Cost

Magazine article USA TODAY

DNA Fingerprinting Limited by Cost

Article excerpt

Identification of suspects through DNA "fingerprinting"--brought to prominence in the O.J. Simpson case--is a tremendous technological breakthrough. Yet, like magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and other high-tech health care, it is not always available to those who need it, notes Fred Jordan, medical examiner for the state of Oklahoma and clinical professor of pathology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

The technique is a complex computerized analysis of an individual's DNA--the basic genetic material in the human cell. Just as no two fingerprints are alike, no two individuals--except, occasionally, identical twins--will have the same DNA profile. In a forensic investigation, the genetic material is extracted from a possible suspect and matched with DNA taken from samples at a crime scene, obtained from blood, semen, saliva, etc. The technique has been particularly useful in rape and murder cases.

The problems with DNA fingerprinting lie in the price tag and time frame, rather than in the technology itself. …

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