163 DNA Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

🏆 best dna topic ideas & essay examples, 💡 most interesting dna argumentative essay topics, 📑 good research topics about dna, 📌 simple & easy dna essay titles, 👍 good essay topics on dna, ❓ questions about dna.

  • DNA Analysis: A Crime-Fighting Tool or Invasion of Privacy? This paper set out to demonstrate that DNA analysis offers a versatile tool for fighting crime and therefore ensuring the success of our civilization.
  • DNA Definition and Its Use by the US Police The location for most DNA is the nucleus though some may be found in the mitochondria and is called mitochondrial DNA. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • DNA as an Evidence From a Crime Scene The mitochondrial DNA is transferred directly from the mother to the offspring and in this case, there is no DNA of the father present here.
  • Organizational DNA Analysis Moreover, due to the spontaneous growth of the organization that took a snowball design, it experienced a challenge in supplying its products to the target consumers.
  • How Has DNA Changed the Field of Physical Anthropology? It is indeed correct to argue that contemporary DNA research has not only changed the field of physical anthropology in major ways, but it continues to alter and broaden our understanding and perceptions in a […]
  • Genes, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), and Heredity Others said RNA and DNA are the same and that they are responsible for making proteins. The statement “you are your genes” is virtually right because DNA is the basis of heredity and it is […]
  • Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory and Its Risks The mission of the Wildlife Forensic DNA Laboratory is to provide evidence to governmental and non-governmental organizations to ensure the protection of the wildlife in the country.
  • DNA Evidence and Its Use in the US Criminal Law The concluding statement of the Supreme Court of the United States defined the procedure of obtaining DNA samples as a procedure identical to taking fingerprints or taking pictures of the crime scene.
  • Innovator’s DNA: Entrepreneurial Assessment With time, I discovered that the questioning spirit was a reflection of what goes on in the mind of an entrepreneur.
  • DNA-Binding Specificities of Human Transcription Factors The main purpose of the experiment was to analyze and determine how human transcription factors are specifically bound by DNA. Most human transcriptional factors have been systematically analyzed in the methodology and result sections of […]
  • DNA in Action: Sockeye Salmon Fisheries Management The researchers in the article carried out an analysis entailing a total sum of 9300 salmon fish species. The latter was followed by mixed stock samples in the lower region of Fraser River and test […]
  • Recombinant DNA Technology and pGLO Plasmid Use Transformation of bacterial cells, which is one of the approaches used in genetic engineering, involves the transfer of genetic material from one bacterium to another using a plasmid vector.
  • Bird DNA Extraction: Sex Determination of Gallus Gallus DNA was obtained from blood, muscle tissue and feathers of the bird. The last step was to visualize the DNA extract through gel electrophoresis and making conclusions of the bird’s sex.
  • Exponentials and Logarithms: the Cell and DNA The result will be; log to the base of 2 of ‘x’ equals ‘y’.’y’ usually refers to the power to which one raises ‘2’ to get ‘x’ This can be simplified as follows; F =2x […]
  • Dr. Michio Kaku’s Predictions of the DNA Screening In the documentary, the city planners warn the public that the insufficient growth and the development of the suburban areas threaten both the economy of the country as well as its community.
  • Obtaining a DNA Sample Legally Furthermore, it is impossible to search not only the suspect’s house but also the curtilage, which is also protected according to the Fourth Amendment because it is a private territory.
  • DNA Replication as a Semiconservative Process The process of DNA replication has been studied extensively as the pathway to understanding the processes of inheritance and the possible platform for addressing a range of health issues occurring as a result of DNA […]
  • Sleep Helps to Repair Damaged DNA in Neurons The researchers found that the chromosomes in the fish’s neurons would often change shape while their owners slept, enabling the repair of the damage accumulated in periods of activity.
  • Species Identification Reveals Mislabeling of Important Fish Products in Iran The article under discussion is devoted to the method of DNA barcoding in fish species identification and its ability to shed light on the situation with product identity in Iran.
  • DNA Profiling and Analysis Interpretation Regarding the case of the robbery and murder of a man and a woman, different types of physical evidence can be collected. However, this method can be less effective in case of the contamination of […]
  • DNA Testing Techniques and Challenges Therefore, even though the major part of the evidence can be inaccessible, the sample can be amplified due to the development of technology. The final stage is the evaluation of the accuracy of the analysis […]
  • Mattew Warren: Four New DNA Letters Double Life’s Alphabet In this article, the author describes the work of Steven Benner and other scientists who contributed to the improvement in understanding the nature of synthetic DNA bases.
  • Infectious Bacterial Identification From DNA Sequencing The first is the preparation of the DNA sequence and matching it with the database of known DNA sequences. Given below is a screenshot of the process PCR Amplification: To prepare the polymerase chain reaction, […]
  • Artificial Manipulation of DNA Technology There is microinjection of genes in the zygote pronuclear and the other technique is by injecting the stem cells of the embryo into blastocoels.
  • Biomedical Discovery of DNA Structure The first parts of the book comprised of the opening of Sir Lawrence Bragg, who gave an overview of the entire book and talked about the significance of Francis Crick and James Watson’s discovery with […]
  • Moral and Ethical Issues of Recombinant DNA Technology In my opinion that debate is of the greatest importance and my hope is that these six lectures may have contributed to it.
  • Oswald T. Avery and the Discovery of the DNA Oswald Avery was a man driven with the desire to contribute to humanity but when he finally discovered something of utmost importance the world of science was not quick enough to give recognition to his […]
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA): Structure & Function The significant factor was that the two strands run in the reverse directions and the molecule had a definite base pairing.
  • DNA in Criminal Investigations In fact, it is possible to speak about the advent of a new field of criminalistics, DNA profiling. RFLP analysis is very discriminative, though, it is worth mentioning, that the samples have to be undamaged, […]
  • DNA as the Secret of Life Deoxyribonucleic Acid which is commonly referred to as DNA is the nucleic acid that is used in the study of the genetics of the development and the functioning of almost all living organisms with an […]
  • Biotechnology: Copying DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) It refers to a new but identical collection of cells acquired from an original cell by the process of fission, wherein a cell divides itself forming two cells, or by the process of mitosis, wherein […]
  • Meiosis and Splitting of the Dna Into Gametes Meiosis is the basic process happening in the cells carrying the genetic information about the organism into two cells, while the number of chromosomes in the resulting cells is divided into two equal parts, thus […]
  • Importance of Expanding FBI’s Forensic DNA Laboratory In addition, acceptance of DNA analysis results as evidence in the Court of law has entrenched DNA analysis in forensic investigations. These have increased the number of samples for DNA analysis in FBI forensic laboratories.
  • DNA Diagnostic Technologies Description This has made it possible to understand the aspects concerning the development of human life as well as genetic causes of abnormalities that are seen in the human body. In the treatment of genetic diseases, […]
  • The Main Objective of DNA Fingerprinting in Agriculture Therefore, the main objective of DNA fingerprinting in agriculture is to overcome the limitation of insufficient dissimilarity among prior genotypes and come up with the best ideas to discover new molecular markers and collect data […]
  • DNA and Evolution – What’s Similar Transformation, in molecular genetics, is a change in the hereditary properties of cells as a result of the penetration of foreign DNA into them.
  • Benefits and Challenges of DNA Profiling The simplest option is to take a sample from the suspect and compare it with the DNA found at the crime scene.
  • Modern Technology in DNA and Genealogy Solving Cold Case Murders The purpose of the study lays in establishing the relationship between ethical, legal, and privacy challenges of using genomics during the investigation.
  • DNA and Genealogy Solving Cold Case Murders: The Modern Technology The issues above are essential, and they make people ask questions of whether it is reasonable to use modern technology in DNA and genealogy.
  • The Innocence Project, Habib Wahir’s Case: DNA Testing During the appeal, the court found that the semen left in the lady by the culprit did not match Habib’s DNA.
  • The Use of DNA Technology in the O. J. Simpson’s Murder Trial The tests revealed that the blood samples taken from the crime scene, the victims’ blood and the blood at the gate matched Simpson’s blood.
  • Structure of Deoxyribonucleic Acid The nucleotides join to one another by covalent bonds between the sugar of one nucleotide and the phosphate of the next. The sequence of nucleotides in the DNA strand can be different and vary in […]
  • Criminal Justice and DNA: “Genetic Fingerprinting” DNA is one of the popular methods used by criminologists today, DNA technique is also known as “genetic fingerprinting”.the name given the procedure by Cellmark Diagnostics, a Maryland company that certified the technique used in […]
  • Use of the Information Technology to Solve Crimes: DNA Tests and Biometrics The modus operandi of the IAFIS is as follows: The fingerprints are taken after arrest, processed locally, and then electronically transmitted to state or federal agencies for processing.”The fingerprints are then electronically forwarded through the […]
  • Forensic DNA Analysis: A Technique to Achieve a Conclusion of Identity Thus, a DNA match corroborates the fact that the suspect was at the scene of the crime and this evidence can help in establishing a case against the suspects.
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Nanotechnology: Chemical and Physical Structure and Properties The essence of DNA in every living organism and certain viruses is that it forms the basis of the genetic instructions that are essential in the development and functioning of these organisms.
  • DNA Fingerprinting as Biotechnology Application DNA fingerprinting, also known as genetic fingerprinting or DNA profiling is a method used to identify a specific individual. DNA fingerprinting is used to determine the parents of a person i.e.establish paternity.
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Explained to Students In the chromosomes, DNA is organized and compacted by chromatin proteins. The interaction of DNA and other proteins is guided by compact structures.
  • Post Conviction DNA Testing The DNA was first presented as evidence in court in the year 1986 in the USA, and in the subsequent years it presented serious challenges in the court rooms, presently it is been accepted in […]
  • Biotechnology, Nanotechnology Its a Science for Brighter Future, DNA This means that there should be efforts that are aimed at the promotion of this field so that we can be in a position of solving most of these problems.
  • The Concept of DNA Cloning In the approach based on cells both the replicating molecule or the biological vehicle known as the vector and the foreign DNA fragment are cut using the same restriction enzyme to produce compatible cohesive or […]
  • The DNA Extraction Procedure: Scientific Experiment It touches on plant cell DNA extraction, animal cell DNA extraction, sequence used in DNA extraction and composition of the sample.
  • FRET Detection or DNA Molecules It is for this reason that the method is possibly applicable in the DNA sequencing methods that are composed of single molecules and these are viewed as belonging to the “next-generation”.
  • Molecular Components of the DNA Molecule The DNA serves as storage of the genetic information in the form of codes. The DNA polymerase is the enzyme that is responsible for the combination of the phosphate and the nucleotide.
  • Comparative Sequence Study in Human and Primate DNA Samples In general, the differences between DNA samples are qualitative and quantitative, and this is explained by the fact that these are responsible for the key biological differences between humans and primates.
  • DNA Vaccines: Optimization Methods The three optimization methods scientists have been using to optimize DNA vaccines are the use of regulatory elements, optimization of the codons, and addition of the kozak sequences.
  • Restriction of Lambda DNA in the Laboratory The DNA in the head of the virus has a unique structure. The restriction site is used for the purposes of recognizing a particular DNA molecule.
  • The Helical Structure of DNA: Watson and Crick’s Opinion In addition, the author of this paper makes a comparison between the structure proposed by the two biologists and the information provided in recent textbooks.
  • The E.Z.N.A Commercial Kit: Soil DNA Extraction Optimisation In this paper, the researcher sought to investigate the effectiveness of using the kit for the purposes of optimising the extraction of DNA from marine soils.
  • DNA Tests in the O.J. Simpson’s Case The fact that John’s DNA results match the crime blood DNA results does not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he is responsible for Sally’s murder.
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid Profiling in Forensics The last part of the analysis includes discussion of the potential for error in DNA profiling. It has to do with the fact that DNA is a material that fulfills most of the criteria making […]
  • DNA Retention and National Security The experiences of Kuwait and the UAE are yet to demonstrate the consequences of the extreme expansion of DNA retention system, but another country has also provided some information for the consideration in the worldwide […]
  • Interesting and Relevant Applications of DNA Technology Week One Activities Learning Outcomes DNA Technology in Laboratory Medicine Diagnostic Relevance and future prospects. Interesting and Relevant Applications of DNA Technology Areas Most striking and need further review in my career – modernized to detect pathogens from the clinical samples in the diagnostic hospitals. Preferred method of identifying organisms based on genomic make up. […]
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid: Review The goals of this experiment are: to enable us to become well acquainted with the physical characteristics of DNA by separating it from living tissue, and the use of each stage in the isolation process […]
  • Developmental Biology: DNA and MicroRNA This is augmented by the strengthening of patterns and the increase in the number of lateral cells that are crucial for the process to be successful.
  • Biochemical Metabolism: Foreign DNA Molecule The virtual gel should show the band pattern that would result from incubating the plasmid with restriction enzymes as indicated below.
  • Forensic Analysis of DNA and Biological Material This was the first stage when carrying out the DNA test on a biological material. Notably, the forensic analyst was not allowed to touch the collection pad of the swab as a precaution measure.
  • The Concept of DNA Barcoding The first step towards safeguarding and gaining from biodiversity involves sampling, identifying, and studying the biological specimens to identify the extent of the diversity and use that knowledge for the benefit of the country.
  • Knowing One’s DNA Genetic Makeup: Pros and Cons In addition, the knowledge that one might not get a job or insurance because of their genetic makeup is stressful and depressive.
  • Importance of Deoxyribonucleic Acid The history of the discovery of DNA dates back to 1865 when Gregory Mendel used theories of heredity in analyzing the genetic profiles of pea plants.
  • Ethical Issues on DNA Testing On some occasions, parents and clinicians have used such knowledge to manipulate the fetus’s genetic structure, hindering natural reproduction and messing with God’s creation.
  • DNA Analysis in Criminal Investigations DNA analysis is a method aimed at the identification of a person according to his or her characteristics of DNA. In the earlier stages of an investigation, when the mentioned technique serves as a powerful […]
  • DNA Barcoding Sequence Analysis of Unknown Plant The efficiency of this instrumental method is built on the idea of close similarity in the structure of DNA molecules to be more precise, the arrangement of nucleotides in it between closely related species: the […]
  • Short Tandem Repeat (STR) DNA Analysis and the CODIS Database The core STR loci developed provides a foundation for global databases of DNA and has future implications in the field of forensic science.
  • Covalent Modification of Deoxyribonucleic Acid Regulates Memory Formation The article by Miller and Sweatt examines the possible role of DNA methylation as an epigenetic mechanism in the regulation of memory in the adult central nervous system.
  • DNA Microarray Technology and Applications These DNA microarrays are used by scientists in order to determine the appearance levels of a big number of genes, and also to the manifold region of a genome.
  • DNA Profiling and Required Genetic Testing The reliable tests for conducting genetic testing should be more than one in order to remove the element of doubt on matching DNA bands.
  • DNA Cloning and Sequencing: The Experiment The plasmid vector pTTQ18 and the GFP PCR product will be digested with restriction enzymes and the desired DNA fragments obtained thereof will be purified by Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and ligated with DNA ligase resulting […]
  • Sex and Biology of Gender, From DNA to the Brain The video helped me actualize my prior knowledge on sex and gender as well as enriched my understanding of what biological processes make people transgender. In conclusion, the video under analysis helped me improve my […]
  • DNA Analysis in Criminal Cases The murderer, Bradley Robert Edwards, was recognized to be guilty after committing two rapes in 2016 his DNA samples were taken from under the nails of the victim as she was fighting the rapist in […]
  • DNA Evidence: The Case of the Golden State Killer Thus, DNA evidence should be used to narrow the circle of suspects before the technology is improved and other people could safely submit their DNA samples.
  • Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA): Structure and Function This is true of the current article, “The Structure of DNA,” which describes the function, structure, and biological significance of the most important molecule in nature.
  • Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) in Genealogy It is the development of mtDNA that enabled Sykes to trace and guess about the lives of the clan mothers since through it he was able to assess the genetic makeup of modern Europeans.
  • DNA Sequencing with Polymerase Chain Reaction Sixteen possible combinations of the four nucleotide bases of the DNA would give rise to the 16 amino acids. This explains the high melting point of a high G + C content DNA.
  • Transfer of Beta-Carotene via DNA Techniques Adding yeast as a vector may significantly alleviate the incorporation of the new genes into any species because it includes protein which is vital for the species’ growth and rapid gene manipulation.
  • The Discovery of the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Structure Watson and Crick are independent; they come up with the idea of building a DNA structure on their own. Chadarevien argues that the image of Crick, Watson, and the double-helical DNA model has a great […]
  • The Nature of DNA Structure Discovery Thus, scientists should expand the idea about the nature of discovery without relying only on insight or results, acknowledging Franklin as a discoverer of DNA structure. It is time to reconsider the nature of discovery […]
  • Neanderthal DNA in the Genomes The article shares the reasons behind the presence of Denisovans; genetic fingerprints are present in many parts of the world today.
  • Ethics of Informed Consent in DNA Research The ethical issue that is the focus of the current study is the use of patient DNA for research by a company without their knowledge and consent.
  • Rosalind Franklin: The Discovery of the DNA Structure The discovery of the spatial structure of DNA undoubtedly made a decisive contribution to the development of modern biological science and related fields.
  • Application of DNA in Criminal Forensics In phylogenetic studies, the analysis of DNA from fossil remains allows one to determine the taxonomic identity of a species, while in forensics, one can find the connection between traces and the perpetrator or the […]
  • The Amplification of DNA Samples The isothermal amplification of nucleic acids represents a simplified process that allows for the quick and efficient accumulation of nucleic acid sequences in an environment of constant temperatures.
  • The DNA of an Entrepreneur: Is There an Entrepreneur Gene
  • The Use and Importance of DNA Profiling in the Police Force in America
  • The Role of DNA Technology in Crime Investigation
  • The Future of Computers and DNA Computing
  • Will a National DNA Database Decrease Crime in the U.S
  • The Human Genome Project and Patenting DNA
  • The Essential Features of the Watson-Crick Model on the DNA
  • The Structure of the DNA and the Future of Genetic Engineering
  • The Effectiveness of DNA Evidence in Obtaining Criminal Convictions
  • The Evolution of DNA Silencing Technology over the Years
  • The History, Function and Advancement in DNA Technologies
  • The Different Uses and Importance of DNA Replication
  • The Advancement of DNA Testing in Criminal Trials and Its Benefits
  • The Idea of Cloning Animals and Humans since the Discovery of DNA
  • The Biochemical Description of the DNA and Its Importance in Cloning
  • Why Ageing Occurs Are All Under The Guideline Of DNA
  • Self Assembling Circuits Using DNA, The Next Computer Breakthrough
  • Significance of Discoveries in Genetics and DNA
  • Understanding Recombinant DNA Technology
  • The Contribution of DNA Profiling to Changing the Crime Solving System
  • Understanding How Genetic Engineering Works from the Perspective of the DNA
  • The Use of Recombinant DNA Technology
  • The Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • The Genesis of DNA Profiling and Its Use in the Modern World
  • The Effects Of Gene Editing On Human DNA
  • Use Of DNA In Criminal Investigations
  • Tools and Techniques for DNA Manipulation
  • Timeline on Our Understanding of DNA and Heredity
  • Rosalind Franklin: Unsung Hero Of The DNA Revolution
  • The Impact of the Use of DNA Analysis for Forensic Analysis
  • Your DNA: Who Has Access To It And How It Should Be Used
  • Structure and Analysis of DNA and Implications for Society
  • The Light and Dark Side of DNA Technology
  • The Functions Of DNA And Protein Synthesis
  • Watson and Crick and the Discovery of DNA’s Structure
  • The Uses of DNA Technology in Forensic Science
  • The Discovery and Understanding of the Structure of DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick
  • The Work of James Watson and Francis Crick on the Exploration of DNA Structure
  • Uses Of DNA And Fingerprints In Crime Scene Investigation
  • The Structure of DNA and the Risks Inherent in Understanding It
  • The Concept and Role of DNA Fingerprinting in Solving Crimes
  • How Is DNA Deciphered?
  • Which Scientists Participated in the Discovery of DNA?
  • What Experiments Did Scientists Use to Discover DNA?
  • What Is the Structure of DNA?
  • What Are the Methods of Diagnosing Plant Diseases Based on DNA?
  • DNA: What Are the Potential Effects on Skeletal Muscle Aging in Humans?
  • How Many Crimes Are Solved by DNA?
  • What Does Vitamin Help With DNA Repair?
  • Why Do Researchers Study DNA?
  • Is It Possible to Control the Aids Virus With a DNA Vaccine?
  • How Does DNA Help Fight Crime?
  • What Are the Analytical Methods of DNA Extraction?
  • What Is a DNA Sequence?
  • How Would You Analyze the DNA Matches of Identical Twins?
  • When Was DNA Discovered?
  • How Different Is Human DNA From Animal DNA?
  • Is It Possible to Clone the DNA of Animals and Plants?
  • How Many DNA Molecules Are in a Chromosome?
  • Is It Possible to Artificially Create DNA?
  • Can Cancer Be Detected in DNA?
  • How Accurate Is DNA Evidence?
  • What Is the DNA Replication Process?
  • Can Siblings Have Different DNA?
  • Why Does ATM Deficiency Accelerate DNA Damage in HIV-Infected Individuals?
  • Can DNA Evidence Ever Be Wrong?
  • A Bioethical Question: Is DNA Fingerprinting Mandatory?
  • Which Part of DNA Carries Genetic Information?
  • How Is DNA Used in Research?
  • What Are the Types of DNA?
  • What Is the Basic Structure of DNA?
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Genetic Testing, Essay Example

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Genetic testing also known as DNA-based testing involves examining DNA molecules to find possible signs of genetic disorders. The advancements in the field of genetics have rapidly pushed the boundaries of medical science and have made it possible to predict the probability of genetic disorders to occur in the individuals. Thus, the greatest promise of genetic testing is not only in preventive measures but further advancements in genetics are expected to produce techniques that may even be able to repair faulty genes. Currently, there are more than 1000 genetic tests available from the testing laboratories including Alzheimer’s disease, Cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, Sickle cell disease, and Timothy Syndrome.

As with any disruptive technology, the genetic testing raises certain ethical and moral issues. Privacy is one of the major concerns because genetic testing results could be used by insurance companies and other commercial enterprises to decide whether to provide their services or not and may charge more to the customers they perceive as high-risk. In addition, genetic testing is not fool-proof and the misleading results may lead to inaccurate treatments and preventive measures. In addition, the technology is still in infancy and any information that can’t be interpreted with reliability even if it’s accurate is as useless as no information at all. The medical community has no professional standards or guidelines that could be used to analyze the genetic testing results which results in doctors applying inconsistent analytical tools and reaching inconsistent conclusions.

The results of the genetic testing may inflict emotional pain on the individuals even if they are inaccurate. The psychosocial risks may be guilt, anxiety, impaired self-esteem, social stigma, and employment discrimination (American Academy of Pediatrics). There may be financial risks if the customer decides to act on the information and opt for expensive medical treatments in hope of reducing the risks indicated by genetic test. Moreover, genetic information has limited predictive power as our genes interact with the environment in complex ways.

As far as genetic testing in pediatrics is concerned, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends genetic testing only when it is in the best interests of the child and when the legitimate interests of the parent and the family can be promoted without anticipated harm to the child. It has been argued that genetic testing for children should be mandatory because a society has an obligation to promote child welfare through detective and timely treatment of selected conditions. At the same time, parents have a tendency to underestimate the risks involved in treatments on the basis of genetic test which may not promote the best interests of the child (American Academy of Pediatrics).

Emory Law Journal provides an interesting hypothesis on the potential impact of media on consumer choices. American actress Christina Applegate appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show on September 30, 2008 and declared that her decision to remove both of her breasts was based on her genetic test. She remarked, “I’m clear. Absolutely 100 percent clear and clean.” This information could be misinterpreted by the female viewers who have a family history of breast cancer. They may order their genetic test and decide to go the Christina Applegate way. But Christina Applegate’s self-assurance was not exactly correct because double mastectomy significantly decreases the chance of later developing breast cancer but does not guarantee prevention. In addition, direct-to-consumer companies have no obligation to tell customers of the treatment choices available and the customers may underestimate the social and emotional distress that breast removal may cause them later. Direct-to-consumer companies have a potential to mislead customers because even though they issue disclaimer that their results cannot be used to make medical decisions and that the users assume all the risk, their marketing messages send hope and promise of healthy future. Genetic testing companies are avoiding the possibility of legal problems by masking themselves as seller of informational and recreational services (Kishore, 2010).

The pace of regulations to govern the trade practices of the direct-to-consumer companies may have yet to come but the issue has not escaped the attention of the government. United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) tested direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies and found that they made medically unproven claims. In addition, the results from all the four companies whose services GAO purchased yielded results that were inconsistent with each other and the companies didn’t inform of their inability to carry out DNA tests on races prior to the purchase. In addition, the individual companies yielded different test results on the two samples that were actually the same. Some companies even tried to sell supplements that were supposed to repair damaged DNAs. In addition, they used fraudulent endorsements from high profile athletes (Kutz). This shows that genetic testing is still unreliable and a huge risk exists in utilizing genetic tests for making important medical decisions.

There is also a risk that genetic tests may be abused by employers to predict the probability of undesirable behavior in individuals which may or may never happen. For example, if an individual possesses a gene variant which studies link to increase risk of substance abuse such as alcohol and drugs, the employer may decide he doesn’t want to hire a potential future liability (Bailey).

Genetic testing may have limited useful and reliable applications especially in the case of diseases whose genes are few and have been correctly identified. Huntington gene is one example. People with Huntington disease have 36 to more than 120 CAG (Huntington disease is also known as CAG trinucleotide repeat expansion). People with 36 to 40 CAG repeats may or may not develop the signs of Huntington disease but people with more than 40 repeats almost always develop the disorder (Genetics Home Reference).

Genetic testing if proved negative may give false hopes to the customers. Customers may become careless with their life habits and may even forego regular diagnosis tests later in life. Thus, just as positive results may result in over reaction, negative results may lead to carelessness on the part of the customers. Genetic tests point towards a bright future of medical science as further progress is made but it will take some time for genetic testing to become a truly reliable medical service. Even when genetic testing is taken, the importance of medical advice should not be underestimated. Medical professionals are better informed due to their experience and knowledge and are better aware of the various options available to the customers.

Genetic testing may have consequences that extend far beyond the individuals. Genetic testing may persuade couples to opt for abortion or totally forego procreation plans. Some people may object on the basis of their moral values that humans are trying to imitate God which could limit federal funding to fund genetic research and slow down the progress in genetics. This has already happened when President Bill Clinton sent bill to the Congress to outlaw the cloning of humans on the recommendation of the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (Human Genome News, 1997).

American Academy of Pediatrics. Ethical Issues With Genetic Testing in Pediatrics. 3 February 2011 <http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;107/6/1451>.

Bailey, Ronald. “I’ll Show You My Genome. Will You Show Me Yours?” Reason January 2011: 35-43.

Genetics Home Reference. HTT. October 2008. 3 February 2011 <http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/HTT>.

Human Genome News. President’s Bill Would Prohibit Human Cloning. January-June 1997. 3 February 2011 <http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/publicat/hgn/v8n3/07pres.shtml>.

Kishore, Deepthy. “Test at Your Own Risk: Your Genetic Report Card and the Direct-To-Consumer Duty to Secure Informed Consent.” Emory Law Journal 2010: 1553-1609.

Kutz, Gregory. “Direct-To-Consumer Genetic Tests: Misleading Test Results Are Further Complicated by Deceptive Marketing and Other Questionable Practices.” Investigative. 2010.

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DNA And The American Justice System Argumentative Essays Example

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Law , Supreme Court , Crime , United States , Justice , System , Social Issues , Technology

Words: 1700

Published: 03/30/2023

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Introduction

According to Baker, the American justice system is in need of an evolution, which will bring the courtroom into the 21st century. Baker was speaking about the use of technology within the courtroom, but the availability of DNA has made it quite clear the American justice system needs to look forward to the future and consider all possibilities to improve the system as a whole. This paper will discuss the use of DNA in American justice system helped investigators to detect crime in a way easier than in the past.

DNA is more formally referred to as deoxyribonucleic acid, which is now used to identify individuals similarly, yet more advanced than finger printing. DNA is a unique pattern, which is unique to every individual, except for identical twins or bone marrow donors and recipients. DNA is able to come to concrete results, but are only useful when there is biological evidence left at the crime scene. In general, investigators are able to use DNA to make a comparison with a suspect with biological evidence, which can prove guilt or innocence. Additionally, DNA can be used to search through the databases to determine if the current perpetrator is already in the database. What is interesting is the fact, the use of DNA gained more popularity quicker than the implementation of technology within courtrooms. By the late 1980’s the federal government laid the ground work for a system of national, local, and state DNA databases to collaborate to make one large database now referred to as the Combined DNA Index System(CODIS). This allowed law enforcement to pool their information to help aid in the process of solving crimes. Yet, in 1998, the first summit on the use of technology to improve access to justice was held, and by 2012, the Technology Initiative Grant also known as (TIG) has provided over forty million dollars in grants to various legal services agencies, courts, and nonprofit organizations. This means there was more acceptance for DNA than the implementation of technology within the courtroom. Between the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s American states began passing laws requiring offenders of crimes to provide a DNA sample. This thought focuses on the idea criminals tend to commit more than one crime, which makes the process of collecting DNA and finger prints as an investment into future investigations. Currently, all fifty states have these DNA sampling laws to invest into the CODIS database system. DNA is still a new concept, which is still utilizing the original technology from the 1980’s, which explains why there is a need for further research. At the same time, this research will not be successful without the implementation of better technology within the American justice system. For example, the laboratories used to conduct these tests are overwhelmed without enough personnel to process the backlog of data. This problem becomes compounded with the budget cuts of the 21st century, which have made it nearly impossible for these labs across the country to catch up. Not only are labs running DNA samples for current cases, but for cold or closed cases from the past, and for work related testing to prove an individual’s identity beyond a shadow of a doubt.

DNA Background

The idea of DNA in the modern world has changed, because it seems to be a double edged sword, which was never its original intention. On one hand, DNA allows investigators to make clear determination to the guilt or the innocence of a suspect. On the other hand, there are also prisoners who are now being released because it turns out they were actually innocent and the DNA sample set them free. This is where the double edged sword comes in, because in some cases, the DNA may prove one person did not commit the crime, but does not help the investigators figure out who did. Shows like “CSI” have injured the validity and expectations within the American justice system. To some this seems impossible, but in reality, the certainty gained during “CSI” episodes has skewed the American perception of investigations and the use of DNA. The reality is, DNA sampling is expensive and tends to take too long since there is such an issue with the backlog of samples within the crime laboratories. There are also issues related to the expectations of juries, because their belief is DNA should be used for every case, which is rare due to the cost. District Attorneys are able to discuss how frustrating it is for juries to acquit suspects who were found with the weapon in question and met the description of witnesses on the basis there was no DNA sampling conducted. This can be frustrating, because if there are witnesses and the suspect was found with the weapon there should not be a need for DNA to prove reasonable doubt. It is clear jury members feel the lack of DNA evidence and sampling as proof the suspect did not commit the crime, or the “system” is trying to set the suspect up. The goal of further research is to develop and implement technology in order to enhance the access to justice in the United States. This is achieved through discussing the issues related to the implications of the digital divide, secure information, lack of education or support for self-representing litigants. There is plenty of resources available to help the public and legal professionals of the difference of mobile device capabilities, integration of court technologies, overcoming issues, and tech supported triage. The use of DNA has made it possible for legal professionals to prove without any doubt the specific suspect was involved in the crime. The problem with this idea is the reality there are various circumstances or scenarios, which would produce biological evidence to an innocent suspect. This is especially true in poorer urban neighborhoods where people live in close quarters. Just because one person’s DNA was near the crime scene does not necessarily mean that particular individual committed the crime. This is why it has become important for DNA testing to be completed for any suspect who is facing life in prison or the death penalty.

Counterargument

DNA samples can be collected through saliva, skin, blood, semen, and hair, which can be spread by individuals throughout the day. All of these bodily fluids can be found all over the place, which is why DNA testing is not used when the district attorney feels they have enough physical evidence to convict without waiting for the lab results. The problem with this fact is it has made the use of DNA sampling to release prisoners just as common as convicting suspects. The problem is this reality can open a can of worms, because it will be quite clear there are significantly more minorities who are wrongly imprisoned compared to their white counter parts.

In conclusion, it is quite clear DNA sampling is not being used consistently across the country. Similar to other areas of the American justice system, DNA only seems to be used to exonerate wealthy suspects who would have the capability to pay for the test themselves. At the same time, it also can be used to help investigators with cold cases, which did not have any leads at the time of the offense. The crime laboratories across the United States need a serious update in technology, which can help the laboratory professionals the opportunity to catchup on the long list of backlogged DNA samples. This investment into these laboratories should also focus on the speed or turn abound time to get the results. If the results are considered much faster, the laboratory professionals will be able to complete significantly more tests within a given work day. This should also allow DNA testing to become part of every case, so juries with skewed perceptions are no longer allowing criminals to walk the street because the district attorney believed the test was too costly and was not needed. Making DNA sampling a requirement can also help the American justice system limit the number of wrongly imprisoned individuals. This will allow investigators and other legal professionals to focus on the facts of the case, and then use the DNA sampling to ensure their investigation came up with the correct offender, and not just their neighbor or family member. To utilize the DNA sampling for closed cases, the states need to agree the only cases which can go back to check DNA matches ae for those individuals who claimed their innocence the entire time. This is important, because it will limit the number of people who knew they did something to make them guilty. This does not mean people can be exonerated when they were guilty of other crimes, because the reality is, people who throw away their freedom by harming people in their family or community, do not deserve to live amongst the general population. DNA sampling is valuable tool, which needs to be refocused to become more efficient and help improve the investigation and legal process of the modern world.

Works Cited

American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. American Civil Liberties Union. 2016. 1 June 2016. <https://www.aclu.org/dna-testing-and-death-penalty>. Baker, J. "COURTS SHOULD JOIN INFORMATION AGE ; USING VIDEO AND OTHER TECHNOLOGY WOULD GREATLY BENEFIT THE AMERICAN JUSTICE SYSTEM." Orlando Sentinel 19 December 2004: G1. Bonlello, K. "‘CSI’ has ruined the American justice system." New York Post 27 September 2015. digital. June1 2016. <http://nypost.com/2015/09/27/how-csi-twisted-our-jury-system/>. Cabral, J. E., et al. "USING TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE ACCESS TO JUSTICE." Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 26.1 (2012): 241-234. The United States Department of Justice. The United States Department of Justice. 9 September 2014. 1 June 2016. <https://www.justice.gov/ag/advancing-justice-through-dna-technology-using-dna-solve-crimes>.

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ASHG

Realizing the benefits of human genetics and genomics research for people everywhere.

Annual DNA Day Essay Contest

2024 DNA Day Essay Contest Logo

ASHG is proud to support National DNA Day through the Annual DNA Day Essay Contest. DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003 and the discovery of the double helix of DNA in 1953.

This contest is open to students in grades 9-12 worldwide and asks students to examine, question, and reflect on important concepts in genetics. Essays are expected to be well-reasoned arguments that indicate a deep understanding of scientific concepts related to the essay question. They are evaluated by ASHG members through three rounds of scoring.

The deadline has been extended! Please submit essays by Sunday, March 10 at 11:59pm U.S. Eastern Time. 

2024 Question

Many human diseases have a genetic component. Some diseases result from a change in a single gene or even multiple genes. Yet, many diseases are complex and stem from an interaction between genes and the environment. Environmental factors may include chemicals in the air or water, nutrition, microbes, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and social context. Provide an example of how the interplay of genetics and environment can shape human health.

Important Dates

  • Early January, 2024: Submission site opens
  • March 6, 2024: Submission site closes
  • April 25, 2024: DNA Day! Winners and Honorable Mentions announced

1st Place Winner: $1,000 for student $1,000 genetics materials grant

2nd Place Winner: $600 for student $600 genetics materials grant

3rd Place Winner: $400 for student $400 genetics materials grant

Honorable Mentions : 10 student prizes of $100 each

Questions? Email [email protected]

The rubric below is used by judges to evaluate every essay in the second and third rounds of judging.

Rules & Requirements

  • No LLM (large-language model) tool will be accepted as a credited author on this essay. That is because any attribution of authorship carries with it accountability for the work, and AI tools cannot take such responsibility. Students using LLM tools should document this use in the citations section.
  • Essays must be submitted by a teacher or administrator and written by high school students (grades 9-12) in the U.S. and internationally. Parents may submit essays if the student is home schooled.
  • Essays must be written by one individual student; group submissions are not permitted.
  • Essays must be in English and no more than 750 words. Word count includes in-text citations, but not reference lists.
  • Submissions should not include the student’s name in the essay text. This helps with impartial judging.
  • Essays must include at least one reference. References should be clearly documented with both in-text citations and in the references list. The reference list should be separately entered in the “References” section of the submission page.
  • APA or MLA style can be used for citations. There is no limit on how many references students may use, but they should avoid too many references, as judges want to know the student’s opinion on the question and not the opinion of the resources.
  • Quality of references will be considered by judges when scoring.
  • Only classroom teachers are eligible for the equipment grant.
  • Teachers of first-place winners from 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 are not eligible for equipment grants in 2024.

Please Note Text from essays may be used for research purposes to identify misconceptions, misunderstandings, and areas of student interest in genetics. Student text may be published on the ASHG website, newsletter, or in other ASHG publications.

Plagiarism will not be tolerated. The text of the student’s essay must be his or her own words unless quotations are explicitly noted. If plagiarism is suspected during any point of the contest, the essay in question will be examined. Essays found to contain the uncited work of others will be disqualified and the student’s teacher will be notified. Plagiarism.org gives a helpful explanation of what plagiarism is.

How many essays can one student submit? Only one entry per student.

How many essays can one teacher submit on behalf of students? Each teacher may submit up to six student essays per class, for up to three classes.

What are low-quality a high-quality sources? A low-quality source is one that doesn’t guarantee accurate information, such as Wikipedia. High-quality sources include research journals, such as those accessible through PubMed.

What is included in the 750-word count, and what is not?

  • All text in the essay, in-line citations/references, headings and titles, and image captions are included in the word count
  • The reference list is the only text not included in the word count.

Should references have a separate page? The reference list will be submitted separately in the “references” section of the submission site. Everything will be included on one page once the essay is submitted.

Is there a standard font or margin size preferred? No. Once the essay is copied and pasted into the submission site, it will be formatted to fit our standard margins and fonts.

How do I submit my essay if my teacher cannot do it for me? Try to find any other teacher or guidance counselor at your school who can submit for you. If this isn’t an option, please email us at [email protected] .

Can my guidance counselor or another school administrator submit my essay for me? Yes.

Can I submit for my student who is currently studying abroad? Students must be studying at the same school as the teacher who submits their essays.

Can I change information after I have submitted? No, please make sure all information is correct before submitting because it will be final.

How does the teacher vouch for the originality of the student’s work? Your submission represents your authentication that the essays are the original work of your students.

I submitted late. Will my essay still be judged? Late submissions will not be judged.

Where’s the confirmation email? It may take some time for the email to get to you. If you haven’t received it by the end of the day, either check your junk mailbox or double check that the email address you provided is correct. If neither of those options work, email [email protected] .

Summarized below are some of the most common issues judges note in reading submitted essays.

  • Too much focus on details. A focus on details to the detriment of demonstrating a clear understanding of the big picture. Judges are much more forgiving of errors in details than errors in fundamental concepts and larger ideas.
  • Overstating. Sweeping and grandiose overstatements of the current/future state and/or utility of biotechnology or biomedical science.
  • Inaccuracy in technical language. Judges know you do not know all the “science jargon,” so don’t feel obligated to use it.
  • Lack of in-text citations in, or lack of citations for information that is not considered common knowledge. If you got the information from somewhere else, cite the source.
  • Using out-of-date references. Scientific understanding changes very rapidly, and references that are more than five years old are likely to have outdated ideas.
  • Using too many quotes. Although occasional use is warranted, too many quotes lead judges to think the author doesn’t grasp the topic.

Check out the links below for excerpts from past winners’ essays!

Want to become a judge? If you are a current-year ASHG member, you will receive an email each February inviting you to volunteer. If you did not receive the email or cannot locate it, please contact [email protected] . You can also volunteer by the visiting the ASHG involvement page. You may forward the judge recruiting email ONLY to fellow ASHG current members. The deadline to sign up as a judge is the usually the end of February for that year’s Contest. If you have questions about future years, please contact [email protected]

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How to Write and Publish a Proof Argument with DNA Evidence

dna testing argumentative essay

Updated 11 November 2020

Have you solved a case using DNA evidence and want to write a proof argument? Selecting an organizational structure, preparing figures and tables, requesting permissions, and reviewing DNA standards are important steps in the process.

Perhaps you are finished with your proof argument and wondering how to submit it for publication in a genealogical journal. Several authors whose DNA cases were published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) shared insights and will be quoted throughout the article. 1 To see a list of articles including DNA evidence in the NGSQ since 2001, see:

DNA Case Studies in the NGSQ – Google Sheets Document

A few of these articles are available to read on the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ Genealogical Work Samples website here: https://bcgcertification.org/learning/skills/genealogical-work-samples/ . Elizabeth Shown Mills’ article about Zilphy Watts is available on her website here: https://www.historicpathways.com/articles.html

Studying these articles is a valuable way to prepare for writing your own DNA proof argument.

Proof Statements, Summaries and Arguments

Proof statements are simple phrases that state a genealogical fact. In order to prove something in just one statement, you should be able to provide a footnote with one or two citations as documentation for the statement. The information should not be conflicting. DNA evidence is sometimes used in a proof statement when a relationship is very obvious, like an autosomal DNA match between a parent and child.

Proof summaries are used when proving a genealogical fact requires more explanation than one statement. You may need a bulleted list of evidence, an explanation of conflicting evidence that is easily resolved, or two to three paragraphs of explanation. DNA evidence can be used in a proof summary. An example of this is when Y-DNA results are used and show a close genetic distance between two men whose relationship can also be proved with traditional records. An example of using autosomal DNA evidence in a narrative pedigree with proof statements and summaries can be found in Angela Packer McGhie’s presentation, “ Using DNA Test Results to Confirm a Pedigree ,” 20 October 2020 at Family Tree Webinars .

Proof arguments are longer than proof summaries. Genealogists write proof arguments for complex cases that include a large body of evidence. Proof arguments often include multiple pieces of conflicting information that are not easily resolved or where multiple hypotheses exist and must be disproved. Within proof arguments you may also have proof statements and proof summaries that help build the case. DNA evidence in a proof argument may include many test takers and evaluation of several types of DNA.

To read more about types of proofs and writing proof arguments, see Chapter 7 in Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones. 2

Organizational Structure of the Proof Argument

After several phases of research, all of which have produced notes, reports, and preliminary conclusions, you are now ready to assemble your results into a proof argument. You may be able to reuse the writing and tables you have already created in research reports as you completed each phase of research. Outlining your evidence can be a helpful first step. As you list your evidence and arrange it logically, consider one of the following ways to organize the evidence.

Documentary Evidence First, Then DNA  Evidence

Proof arguments with DNA evidence about a question several generations back often begin with documentary evidence and end with DNA evidence. Following this model, start with an introduction that presents your research question. Then present each piece of traditional evidence in a logical order for the first half of the article. To meet the GPS element about reasonably exhaustive research, include all “reliable information potentially relevant to the research question.” 3 Be sure you have tapped all relevant non-genetic sources.

After the documentary research has been presented, the second half of the article states that DNA was used to test the hypothesis reached with traditional research. The DNA section often begins with background information about DNA inheritance and methodology, goes on to discuss the methodology used, present the test-takers, their lines of descent, and DNA analysis. Following the body is a conclusion that sums up the evidence.

Weaving DNA and Documentary Evidence

Not all proof arguments start with documentary evidence and end with DNA evidence. Some choose to go back and forth between the two types of evidence. Karen Stanbary wrote “Rafael Arriaga, a Mexican Father in Michigan: Autosomal DNA Helps Identify Paternity.” 4 Hers is the only case study in the NGSQ that deals with an unknown parent of a test-taker. The test-taker, Joanne, was adopted by her mother’s sister and no record named the father. After a short opening paragraph, Karen discussed which types of DNA were applicable to the research question. She then wove DNA findings with documentary evidence throughout the article. She used pedigree intersection of close matches to find several candidates, then eliminated all but one through targeted testing. Karen shared several nuggets of advice for incorporating DNA evidence into a proof argument:

Weave the information from the genetic evidence correlated with the documentary evidence into the argument by generation. Be very careful with word choice. Be wary of jargon and labels. Do not overplay the evidence. Consider Elizabeth Shown Mills’ qualifying words for conclusions from Evidence Explained . Always keep in mind you must detail the meaningful evidence and your reasoning that ties the pieces of evidence together.

Jill Morelli’s article, “DNA Helps Identify “Molly” (Frisch/Lancour) Morelli’s Father,” which was an unknown grandfather case, followed an organizational structure similar to Karen’s. After five paragraphs of background information, the rest of the article included DNA evidence interwoven with documentary evidence until the possible candidates were narrowed to one father for Molly. 5

Patricia Lee Hobbs’ NGSQ case, “DNA Identifies a Father for Rachel, Wife of James Lee of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania,” was the first in which DNA first identified a distant ancestor, as opposed to an indirect case confirmed with DNA. 6 She began with the fact that no traditional clues led to parents for Rachel, wife of James Lee, and shared the basics of Rachel’s life after marriage. After this short intro, she jumped right into DNA clues that led to the Addleman family, Rachel’s family of origin.

DNA Evidence First, T hen Documentary Evidence

Occasionally, genetic evidence is presented early in the article followed by documentary evidence. This is the case in B. Darrell Jackson’s article, “George Craig of Howard County, Missouri: Genetic and Documentary Evidence of His Ancestry.” 7 The Y-DNA test results presented at the beginning suggest a common ancestor between the test-takers and a significant Y-match within a close number of generations. The match’s earliest known ancestor, William Craig d. 1759, had a patrilineal descendant who possibly matched the George Craig of Howard County whose origins were unknown. Darrell’s exhaustive research on George Craig of Howard, Missouri, paired with genetic evidence, allowed him to bridge George’s post-1806 timeline with the pre-1805 timeline of William Craig’s grandson, George Craig of Virginia. The presentation of Y-DNA results up-front set the stage for the traditional research that followed.

Ultimately, the organizational structure of the proof argument is up to the author and should build the case logically, leading the reader through each evidentiary item. It is not a good idea to present research in the order it was found, as stated in standard 61 of Genealogy Standards. 8

Figures and Tables

The DNA section of a proof argument typically contains a diagram showing test-takers’ descent from the common ancestor. Karen Stanbary advises, “Include an extended source-cited traced descendant chart incorporating all significant matches used in the argument.” Some NGSQ articles have charts spanning two pages, with the base test-takers who descend from the research subject shaded and matches descending from the hypothesized ancestor not shaded. 9

Below is a simple diagram showing descent from a hypothesized ancestor in the NGSQ style with simple lines and names. To make a chart like this using Lucidchart , start with boxes and connecting lines, then select each box by clicking Select>All Shapes, then change the outline color to white. In this example, I have privatized the test-takers’ names, as well as the names of their parents. If privatization of the test-takers’ parents is necessary, because they are living, you may still want to identify their gender if applicable to DNA inheritance. In the example below, I have followed LaBrenda Garret Nelson’s example to state the privatized person’s name as “Leta’s daughter” and “Vernon’s son.” 10

dna testing argumentative essay

Diagram of descent for DNA test takers

Another option to privatize living parents is to say “living female,” as Melinda Daffin Henningfield did in her March 2019 article. 11  Melinda shared that she decided to privatize the names of her test takers, although all of them provided written permission to be used in the publication. She shared two reasons for this decision:

1. I am a retired nurse practitioner. As a former medical provider, I feel strongly about protecting living people’s privacy. I asked each test taker if they would mind being privatized and each of them said that would be okay. Most of them did not care one way or another. 2. Think of the reader. If you, as a writer, provide them with thirteen individuals with a variety of names, say, Joan Rickets, Joe Richards, Jack Ramsey, Betsy Damsel, Butch Dayton, Barbara Harris, Ben Becket, Sally Timmons, Sarah Gordon, Jimmy Craft, Theresa Hall, Charles Marks, and Cindy Gunderson. As you walk the reader through the analysis and correlation of the evidence, he/she is furiously thumbing back and forth in the article from the figure to the narrative (and back to the figure again) trying to remember if Sarah was a descendant of Mary… or John and Elizabeth? How about Butch? It is really difficult for the reader to keep straight who is a descendant of whom. In the analysis and correlation it is really important for your reader to be able to differentiate between the two groups. On the other hand, if you tell your reader that Mary’s descendants are numbered 1–5 and have the letter A, John and Elizabeth’s descendants are numbered 6-13 and have the letter B, and Mary’s descendant’s are shaded in the figure, the reader can tell at any place in the narrative who is descended from whom. I think it is much easier for the reader to keep the test takers straight and it protects their privacy if they are privatized in this way.

Whether the testers are privatized or not, it’s imperative that readers are able to visualize their lines of descent. Providing a diagram is the simplest way to do this. Besides descendant diagrams, you may need to use other types of diagrams to show lineages and pedigrees in a visual format.

The following figures are often used to in DNA proof arguments:

– Lines of descent from a common ancestral couple

– Lineage of a single tester to the research subject

– Hypothesized relationships to the research subject

– Pedigree of a tester

– Pedigree of a DNA match

– Triangulated matches showing bars with overlapping segments

Parent-Child Links

Parent-child links shown in a diagram are documented with at least once citation per link. Recent case studies in the NGSQ have also used author-created Ancestry trees to document the parent-child links. This saves space in the printed journal, however this doesn’t mean the authors haven’t reviewed the parent-child documentation thoroughly. The first NGSQ author to include an author-made Ancestry tree in a DNA article was Melinda Daffin Henningfield. She shared the following about the decision to cite her Ancestry trees for parent-child links:

When I sent the manuscript to the Q, it was 25 pages. In addition, it had 2 figures and 6 tables (each of those might take a page). In addition, the parent-child links were in a separate appendix that was 6 pages long and was in 10 point type. The Q has a page limit of around 20 pages. I knew I had to do something to save some space and came up with this idea. (I don’t have a website, so that was not a possibility). The editor thought it was a good idea and so we went with it.

LaBrenda Garrett Nelson’s case study, “Parents for Isaac Garrett of Laurens County, South Carolina: DNA Corroborates Oral Tradition,” used both in-text citations for parent-child links and her Ancestry tree which provides additional documentation for each link. She cited her Ancestry tree again, later in the case study, to document two of the test takers’ pedigrees in a discussion about pedigree completeness. 12  I asked LaBrenda about her decision to include the Ancestry tree. She said, “I had read every modern DNA article published in the NGSQ for guidance, including how others met the requirement in Standard 2 to document each parent-child link. I followed Melinda Henningfield’s lead in her award-winning article that included a documented Ancestry tree.”

Incorporating DNA evidence requires that shared cM amounts, expected amounts of shared DNA, triangulation of segments, and other numerical data be presented. Often the best way to include this information is in a table or figure. Karen Stanbary shared that figures were helpful to illustrate complex hypotheses in her article. She said the best part about preparing research for publication was benefiting from the wisdom of her editor, Thomas W. Jones, who converted dense reader-unfriendly narrative into beautiful figures that clearly illustrated her points.

Proof arguments with DNA evidence often include the following types of tables to present DNA data:

– Total shared cM that base testers share with each other

– Shared segments among testers

– Total shared cM and proposed relationships between testers

– Total cM shared among base testers and DNA matches

– Triangulated segments

– Tree completeness of testers

– Y-STR values of testers

DNA Standards

Genealogy Standards , 2nd Edition, includes several standards regarding the use of DNA evidence. 13  The new DNA standards were added in 2019, so all the articles in the NGSQ prior to that date did not have a set of DNA standards to use. Jill Morelli’s December 2018 article was the first to utilize the new DNA standards, which at that time weren’t published. 14  Jill said, “I had no map other than the very knowledgeable help of Karen Stanbary who was writing/reviewing the standards as I wrote the article. The article came out about three months before the standards were adopted and distributed.”

The standards can be your guide you as you put together a proof argument.  Standard 52 suggests that genealogists should address factors that can affect determining a genetic relationship, like the possibility of more than one common ancestor for a tester and DNA match. One strategy to mitigate this possibility is pedigree evaluation to see if the pedigrees of each person are complete to the generation of the common ancestor, and possibly 1-2 generations beyond.

Standard 53 encourages genealogists to use a sufficient number of testers and matches. If we haven’t tested enough people to rule out conflicting hypotheses, our conclusion may not meet the GPS. Targeted testing or asking cousin matches already identified in DNA databases to share their results with us can help.

Standard 54 states that assembled research results should include enough detail and identifying information that others can verify the conclusions. If some of our matches have not transferred to GEDmatch so readers can verify the matches we cite, we may need to ask some of our testers and matches to transfer. In LaBrenda’s article, some of the test takers did not transfer to GEDmatch, but others did. For those who did not transfer, her citation states the matches were analyzed with the tools at FamilyTreeDNA and the results were verified by the editors. 15

Inclusion of DNA Evidence

You may be wondering when DNA evidence should be included as part of a reasonably exhaustive search. In research planning, genealogists should consider whether genetic sources might aid with our question, as standards 12 and 14 suggest. 16  However the use of DNA is only required when we want to state that a relationship is biological. 17  Not all indirect cases require the use of DNA, and in fact, there are many cases where DNA would not apply or be useful. One NGSQ author stated that mitochondrial DNA could have been helpful to her case, had a matrilineal descendant existed. 18

Nancy Niles Wehner authored “Parents for Richard M. Vaughan (1844-1921) of Howell County, Missouri,” where she used autosomal DNA and documentary evidence to connect a man who was estranged from his parents during the Civil War to his family of origin. 19  Nancy said that she typically starts by exhausting documentary sources before adding DNA to her cases. She also shared valuable advice about when to use DNA evidence:

If the answer can be found in documentary sources, whether directly or a good solid indirect case, then going to the additional effort involved in doing a DNA study just is not worth it. The key for the indirect case is “solid” as sometimes you can have a possible indirect case but it seems kind of thin, a bit forced, or subject to too many caveats or possible challenges. Then turning to DNA is probably appropriate to bolster the case. Ask yourself if DNA evidence is truly needed to answer your research question. Yes, it’s the “in” thing to do right now but the reality is that not all research questions need DNA evidence to make a case. After all, we’d been doing without it for a long time before DNA became an option for us. If DNA is important to your case, then be prepared to take the time to make sure that the number of DNA donors for your study is sufficient to draw meaningful conclusions. Looking back, I would consider the Richard Vaughan case to be barely adequate; but at the time it was every donor I had available to me. The further back in time you are trying to use the DNA evidence for the more donors you will need to look at since the possible 0 cM shared DNA for relationships out past about 2C1R is going to eat into your pool of donors. My current study to connect Richard’s father, Thomas Henry Vaughan, to his parents and siblings has 16 DNA donors to date and I’m looking for a few more.

LaBrenda Garret Nelson advised, “You should not even think about including DNA until you have exhausted non-genetic sources that point to hypothesized relationships.”

Benefits and Challenges of Publishing in a Journal

I asked several NGSQ authors to share their favorite part about publishing their work and some of the challenges they encountered in the process. Several mentioned the process of gathering permission, editing, receiving peer review, and revising were both challenging and beneficial. Jill Morelli suggested reviewing the guidelines of the journal you plan to submit to. The NGSQ guidelines can be found here: Guidelines for Writers and The Editorial Process. These documents also provide excellent tips and resources for writing case studies.

Satisfaction of a Conclusion

Jill Morelli said the best part was the satisfaction of proving her conclusion: “I had known about the problem of identity of my husband’s grandfather for 30 years, and even tried to find some relatives of the Wood family but was unsuccessful. It is always satisfying to get to a conclusion.” The difficult part of preparing research for publication was contacting test takers – “My husband did not know any of the test takers–so we couldn’t draw on a long history of building trust–basically all the contact with the 5 test takers were “cold calls.” Two of those test takers, in the first minutes of the phone call said they wouldn’t test. I listened, listened some more and eventually both decided to test.”

Contacting DNA Donors

Nancy Wehner also shared that locating and contacting DNA donors was challenging. Once they responded, it was also challenging getting the written permission forms back in order to use their results in a publication. She advised: “If you need permissions, get them up front before committing your time and money to an individual’s testing and analysis. People have the right to withdraw permissions at any time, but I’ve never had one do that where I got permissions to start with, but have had a couple bail on me after the testing by then refusing to give permissions (live and learn).”

Time and Money

Vic Dunn, author of “Determining Origin with Negative and Indirect Evidence: Cylus H. Feagans of Virginia and West Virginia,” said meeting the GPS can be time consuming: “I had reached the conclusion about Cylus H. Feagans’ parentage early in my genealogy life and had put it aside for about a dozen years with plans to publish at some point. However, when I did start writing it, I realized it didn’t meet the GPS since I needed to eliminate all the other Feagans parental candidates which ended up being a significant task. … The article was basically complete when I decided the argument could be bolstered by adding the DNA evidence. ” His advice? “Be prepared to spend a lot of time and possibly money, particularly if you have to pay for some of the tests like I did.” 20

Patti Lee Hobbs also mentioned the time commitment that incorporating both documentary and DNA evidence requires. She advised, “don’t forget the documentary research and be proactive in gathering more DNA evidence. Some will try to use too little DNA evidence to prove the case and they don’t seem to know how to gather more. Gathering the DNA evidence takes a lot of time.”

Elizabeth Shown Mills, author of the first NGSQ article to use autosomal DNA and mitochondrial DNA, “Testing the FAN Principle Against DNA: Zilphy (Watts) Price Cooksey Cooksey of Georgia and Mississippi,” 21  shared that the process of peer-review can be validating: “When we attempt to reconstruct the past, no matter who we are, we all have doubts about the accuracy of our conclusion. (If we don’t have those doubts, we should!) Peer-review provides outside perspectives and critical analyses that help us refine our arguments and re-evaluate conclusions.”

Elizabeth also provided valuable insight into one of challenges into publication–the length restraints of a journal article. She said:

[Validating parent-child links] can generate a huge amount of documentation. At that point, we have to judiciously cull and tighten the evidence for each generational link. Currently, authors and editors tend to handle this challenge by attaching note references to every “fact” asserted in tables and charts, with a separate set of reference notes to document each of those assertions. In complex cases, writers may also provide the editors with a supporting file of documentation that goes beyond what is provided in the tables or charts. That supporting evidence will then be evaluated by peer-review and editorial-review, after which the editor presents the shorter version to the journal’s readership, with the implicit promise that the supporting evidence validates the assertions that could not be more robustly documented in the paper itself.  (On the other hand, this is not necessarily a DNA-specific problem.  As NGSQ editor, once upon a time, I had an author submit a manuscript in a box 14” x 11” x 5” inches. The manuscript was the top item. Below it were five file folders, labelled “Footnote 117, File A,”  “Footnote 117, File B,” etc., all the way through File E.)

Improving our  Writing

Patti Lee Hobbs shared that one of the benefits of writing for a journal is that it will help us become better. She said, “My main aspiration as a genealogist is to write and publish. One can write for themselves, of course, but writing for someone else especially for those with more exacting standards will drive us to our best work.”

She also shared the challenges technical writing presents: “I have a love-hate relationship with writing. It is painful for me; and when I’m in the midst of it, I feel terribly inefficient. But the results are so gratifying! When we minutely examine every little piece to put it together, we start seeing things we didn’t see before. It forces us into a frame of yet further discovery beyond what we’ve already found more superficially. I’m a goal-oriented person and knowing that producing a package of genealogical proof lies at the end spurs me through the difficult, tedious parts.”

Peer Review

LaBrenda Garrett Nelson said the best part about publishing was “finally producing documented conclusions regarding my Garrett ancestors in a setting where I would receive expert feedback about ways in which I could tighten the analysis. Also pushing the envelope by showing how DNA can be particularly useful in the case of communities that left few records and little direct evidence.”

Peer review and expert feedback is a compelling reason to submit to a journal, but can you also receive helpful feedback from friends? Can hired editors and friends be as honest as anonymous peer reviewers in a double-blind process?   Elizabeth Shown Mills said, “Friends will offer a bit of constructive advice—guardedly. Very guardedly. They worry about hurting our feelings. Peer reviewers don’t. Good peer reviewers understand that their first obligation is to scholarship and to the integrity of the journal—and anonymity allows them to be honest.”

Final Advice

I will end with thoughts from Thomas W. Jones, author of the first NGSQ case to use only autosomal DNA, “Too Few Sources to Solve a Family Mystery? Some Greenfields in Central and Western New York.” 22  His advice for those publishing a proof argument that includes DNA evidence is: “Do not ignore any potentially useful documentary evidence, keep an open mind about possible conclusions, and ensure that you have asserted the only possible answer to your research question.”

Will you write a proof argument with DNA? I hope to see many more case studies with DNA evidence published in the NGSQ  and other journals soon. I plan to submit my own someday. Studying the DNA standards and case studies published in the NGSQ has taught me how to follow the footsteps of the authors who shared their insights in this article. I hope it will do the same for you.

_____________________________________

1. I am grateful to Karen Stanbary, Jill Morelli, LaBrenda Garrett Nelson, Melinda Daffin Henningfield, Nancy Niles Wehner, Victor S. Dunn, Thomas W. Jones, Patricia Lee Hobbs and Elizabeth Shown Mills for sharing their candid answers to my questions along with their wisdom and advice.

2. thomas w. jones, mastering genealogical proof (arlington: national genealogical society, 2013), 83-91., 3. board for certification of genealogists, genealogy standards, 2nd ed. (nashville: ancestry.com, 2019), 14., 4. karen stanbary, “rafael arriaga, a mexican father in michigan: autosomal dna helps identify paternity,” national genealogical society quarterly 104 (june 2016): 85–98. , 5. jill morelli, “dna helps identify “molly” (frisch/lancour) morelli’s father,” national genealogical society quarterly 106 (december 2018): 293-306., 6. patricia lee hobbs, “dna identifies a father for rachel, wife of james lee of huntingdon county, pennsylvania,” national genealogical society quarterly 105 (march 2017): 43-56., 7. b. darrell jackson, “george craig of howard county, missouri: genetic and documentary evidence of his ancestry,” national genealogical society quarterly 99 (march 2011): 59-72., 8. genealogy standards, 2nd ed. , 35., 9. for an example of a descendancy diagram spanning two pages, see melinda daffin henningfield, “a family for mary (jones) hobbs clark of carroll county, arkansas,” national genealogical society quarterly 107 (march 2019): 5-30, specifically 22-23., 10. labrenda garrett nelson, “parents for isaac garrett of laurens county, south carolina: dna corroborates oral tradition,” national genealogical society quarterly 108 (june 2020): 85-112. , 11. henningfield, “a family for mary (jones) hobbs clark of carroll county, arkansas,” 5-30., 12. nelson, “parents for isaac garrett of laurens county, south carolina: dna corroborates oral tradition,” 85-112. footnote 104 says “an author-created public ancestry tree documents the lines of descent.” the link to this tree was given again in footnotes 118 and 119 to document two test takers’ pedigrees., 13. genealogy standards, 2nd ed. , 29-32. standards 51-57 are about using dna evidence., 14. morelli, “dna helps identify “molly” (frisch/lancour) morelli’s father,” 293-306., 15. nelson, “parents for isaac garrett of laurens county, south carolina: dna corroborates oral tradition,” 85-112, specifically 108., 16. genealogy standards 2nd ed. , 12-13., 17. ibid., 28-29. standard 50 states that genealogists distinguish between various types of relationships, including genetic., 18. judy kellar fox, “catherine (nee kellar) (kuhnley) wolfe of pennsylvania: three decades missing,” national genealogical society quarterly 96 (june 2008): 85-100, specifically 94., 19. nancy niles wehner, “parents for richard m. vaughan (1844-1921) of howell county, missouri,”  national genealogical society quarterly 105 (june 2017): 139-48., 20. victor s. dunn, “determining origin with negative and indirect evidence: cylus h. feagans of virginia and west virginia,” national genealogical society quarterly 105 (march 2017): 5-18., 21. elizabeth shown mills, “testing the fan principle against dna: zilphy (watts) price cooksey cooksey of georgia and mississippi,” national genealogical society quarterly 102 (june 2014): 129–152., 22. thomas w. jones, “too few sources to solve a family mystery some greenfields in central and western new york,” national genealogical society quarterly 103 (june 2015): 85–110., share this:.

Nicole Elder Dyer

About Nicole Elder Dyer

Nicole Dyer is a professional genealogist specializing in Southern United States research and genetic genealogy. She is the creator of FamilyLocket.com and the Research Like a Pro Genealogy Podcast. She co-authored Research Like a Pro: A Genealogist's Guide and Research Like a Pro with DNA and is an instructor for the study groups of the same name. She lectures at conferences and institutes and previously served as the secretary and publicity chair of the Pima County Genealogy Society. Nicole holds a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in History Teaching. At Family Locket Genealogists, Nicole is a project manager, editor, and researcher.

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You did a great job of soliciting outside opinions of the process. Nice job. I am proud to be included in this great group of genealogists. Thanks. Obviously, the field of DNA and it’s inclusion into genealogical documentation is still evolving. Something so new has to, but it has opened doors to unexpected surprises and validation of unknowns. Jill

Nicole Elder Dyer

It sure has! Thank you for your contributions and for writing your wonderful article.

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Wow. Thanks. I am just getting into such a project and have all the relevant books but I appreciate this practical summary and the list of NGSQ articles. Good candidate for blog post of the year!

Thank you! Good luck with your project.

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Diana Elder, AG®, and Nicole Dyer We are mother & daughter professional genealogists sharing ideas for finding ancestors and keeping them close to the heart. Read more about us and our research team here.   Thanks for visiting!

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A series of photographs of Charles Lindbergh Jr. at 20 months old, taken by his father.

The Great Read

The lindbergh baby kidnapping: a grisly theory and a renewed debate.

New speculation about the toddler’s death and pressure to force DNA testing of evidence have revived scrutiny of what was known as the “crime of the century.”

Credit... Associated Press

Supported by

Tracey Tully

By Tracey Tully

  • Published March 5, 2024 Updated March 6, 2024

Bruno Richard Hauptmann’s mug shot. The wooden electric chair where he was put to death. A sponge like the one that was dampened with salt water and placed on his head to conduct the deadly jolts of electricity.

Listen to this article with reporter commentary

Open this article in the New York Times Audio app on iOS.

This grim assortment of relics is housed in a small museum in New Jersey , about 20 miles away from where the decaying body of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., the toddler Hauptmann was convicted of kidnapping and killing, was discovered face down in the dirt.

Nearly 100 years ago, the Lindbergh case was known as the crime of the century by virtue of its cinematic details and the boy’s high-profile parents, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a diplomat’s daughter , and Charles A. Lindbergh, an aviator who had catapulted to fame by completing the world’s first nonstop solo flight from New York to Paris.

In the decades since, as the keepers of the Lindbergh kidnapping archives can attest, public interest in the case has never subsided — nor has skepticism about Hauptmann’s guilt. But a bizarre and grisly new theory about Lindbergh’s potential involvement in his son’s death, and renewed legal pressure to force DNA testing of evidence, have combined to thrust one of the country’s most enduring murder mysteries squarely back into public consciousness.

dna testing argumentative essay

Hauptmann, a German immigrant who had worked as a carpenter and lived in the Bronx, was executed for the crime in April 1936. His great-great niece, Cezanne Love, and her aunt recently provided DNA samples in the hope that New Jersey’s courts would decide to clear the way for modern science to explore century-old doubts: Was an innocent man put to death? And, if not, did he act alone?

“I personally don’t think he did it,” Ms. Love said, noting that Hauptmann and his widow maintained his innocence , and his alibi, until the end. But if the evidence does link him to the case, “then so be it,” she said. “I want to uncover the truth.”

Charles Lindbergh Jr. was 20 months old when he disappeared from his bedroom in East Amwell, N.J., on March 1, 1932. A wooden ladder, a chisel and the first of more than a dozen ransom notes were found at the house after the kidnapping. The family arranged for a $50,000 payment, but the child was discovered dead 10 weeks later.

The investigation, led by the New Jersey State Police and splashed across front pages worldwide, raged on until September 1934, when a $10 gold certificate from the ransom payment was used to buy gasoline in New York.

Investigators traced the car at the gas station to Hauptmann and later discovered $13,760 in ransom bills in his garage — money he said he’d been asked to hold for a man who died in Germany before the trial.

There were no fingerprints, and there was no confession and no explanation for how a solitary kidnapper might have orchestrated a toddler’s abduction from a second-floor nursery on a rainy Tuesday evening, while five adults and a dog were in the home. Hauptmann was convicted after a six-week trial in Flemington, N.J., and sentenced to death.

A handwritten ransom message sent on a postcard to Charles Lindbergh after the disappearance of his young son demanded $100,000.

At the time of the boy’s kidnapping his father was a national hero.

But history would come to view the renowned pilot who died 50 years ago far more critically. Lindbergh was fascinated with the study of eugenics and was vilified by the media after accepting a medal for his contributions to aviation from Hermann Goering on behalf of Hitler in 1938 — seen by many as a sign of his sympathies with the Nazi regime.

Lise Pearlman, a retired California judge, now speculates that Lindbergh was capable of something even more sinister: sacrificing his son for scientific experiments that led to the child’s death.

“I take advantage of the distance in time to treat the boy’s father as a potential suspect in his kidnap and murder; like all the others on the list, a fallible human being, not a demigod,” Ms. Pearlman wrote in a 2020 book, “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Suspect No. 1: The Man Who Got Away.”

It is a theory that other Lindbergh researchers view with deep skepticism.

Ms. Pearlman acknowledged that her findings were based on circumstantial, yet compelling, evidence about the crime scene, the condition of the boy’s remains and the research that Lindbergh was conducting at the time with Dr. Alexis Carrel, a Nobel Prize-winning surgeon and organ transplant pioneer.

Last February, she shared her theory at a conference held by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, broadening the reach of her views and stoking renewed debate about the crime’s persistent riddles.

Writers who have researched the case just as extensively as Ms. Pearlman said it would be impossible to definitively prove a whole new theory 100 years later. But that has not stopped people from trying.

A former Rutgers University professor, Lloyd C. Gardner, founded a social group decades ago that called itself the State Street Irregulars, a homage to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. The group met at the bar of a restaurant in Lambertville, N.J., while Professor Gardner was writing his book on the subject, “The Case That Never Dies.”

“It will never be proven one way or another,” Professor Gardner said.

Push for DNA tests

Barry Scheck, a founder of the Innocence Project, which has represented roughly 200 clients exonerated by DNA evidence, was a classmate of Ms. Pearlman’s in college and in law school and wrote a supportive blurb for her book. The Innocence Project has not taken on the case, but Mr. Scheck said he had provided consultation to Ms. Pearlman.

In an interview, Mr. Scheck said his interest in the Lindbergh case was tied more to the possibility that an innocent man was executed than the identity of a culprit.

“If there is a DNA test that you can do that will shed light on the guilt or the innocence of somebody, particularly someone who was executed, I think the family has the right to get that information,” he said.

His sentiment is in line with many people’s lasting interest in the case and follows renewed efforts to determine Hauptmann’s guilt or innocence.

Lawrence S. Lustberg, a prominent criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey, said Monday that he had joined the effort on behalf of “opponents of wrongful conviction.” He said he was “carefully considering what procedural mechanisms” might be available to “redress what appears to be a terrible, historic injustice.”

There is already an unrelated legal challenge in New Jersey over a request to test the saliva on the stamped ransom envelopes for clues. Researchers have also argued that the ladder and a wooden board found in Hauptmann’s attic should be evaluated using modern methods to confirm that they match.

A Superior Court judge ruled last year against releasing the envelopes for DNA testing, and an appeals panel is expected to set a date to hear arguments on the matter in the coming months.

Kurt Perhach, who has cited the state’s open public records laws in his fight to win access to the envelopes, traces his career as a lawyer to a teenage fascination with the Lindbergh kidnapping case.

“I have felt compelled that there’s something wrong here since I was a boy,” said Mr. Perhach, 46, who grew up about 30 minutes away from the Lindberghs’ farmhouse in East Amwell. He represents a group of people, including Wayne McDaniel, a New York City-based filmmaker, hoping to use information gleaned from testing to explore a new documentary angle within the already well-plumbed Lindbergh oeuvre.

The New Jersey attorney general’s office has opposed the request, arguing that the “integrity of the historical items outweighs any interest in conducting DNA testing that will permanently alter and potentially damage the items.”

A trove of records

In 1981, a former governor of New Jersey, Brendan Byrne, issued an executive order that made all records pertaining to the Lindbergh investigation available to the public for research.

That material — roughly 225,000 documents — is housed in a large room adjacent to the Lindbergh museum gallery at the State Police’s headquarters near Trenton, N.J., and overseen by a full-time archivist, Greg Ferrara.

Visitors are free to open filing cabinets and leaf through original crime-scene photos, the trial transcript, index cards bearing names of potential witnesses, police reports and Hauptmann’s account of his life, which was typed onto translucent paper so brittle it crinkles when handled.

“Much has been said in the newspapers about my life to make me appear as a black sheep,” he wrote. “Why don’t they investigate the true course of events?”

Since then, few cases have generated more independent investigation.

Sleuths, some of them admittedly obsessed by the case, still flock to online discussion boards to trade hypotheses. The kidnapping has inspired dozens of researched books, movies, documentaries and even musicals .

“I got four calls this week,” Mr. Ferrara said, describing the level of continuing public interest.

dna testing argumentative essay

Professor Gardner, 89, said he once suggested adding a sign above the New Jersey archive.

“Abandon all hope ye who enter here,” he said, borrowing a passage from Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”

“You get into this and you can’t get out,” he said. “It’s so intriguing.”

Del Quentin Wilber heard the same Dante line as he researched a book he is writing about the case for Simon & Schuster.

Mr. Wilber, the Washington investigations editor for The Associated Press, said he had mined hundreds of thousands of records held at the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New Jersey archives and several universities.

“It’s still the ultimate American spectacle that draws people to it in this obsessive way,” said Mr. Wilber, who is convinced of Hauptmann’s guilt despite trial flaws that have opened the case to unceasing scrutiny.

“They railroaded a guilty man,” he said.

‘Complicated, flawed men’

One of the most grotesque theories to emerge since the boy’s death is detailed in the book by the retired judge in California.

Ms. Pearlman said she considered the apparent absence of blood in the woods where the body was discovered a smoking gun that proved the boy died somewhere else. Unexplored questions about the condition of the body and items found nearby have led her to speculate that Lindbergh colluded with Dr. Carrel, his friend who worked at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City, to experiment on his son.

She wrote that the boy, who had an unusually large head and took medicines associated with rickets, would have been seen as expendable to the men, who, as eugenicists , believed in improving the genetic quality of the population. She has concluded that there was a “horrendous probability” that the men removed his organs in hope of achieving a medical breakthrough that might help Lindbergh’s sister-in-law, who had a damaged heart valve.

To reach this conclusion, Ms. Pearlman worked with a New Jersey pathologist, Dr. Peter Speth, who evaluated records from the crime scene and autopsy, which showed that all the boy’s organs other than the heart and liver were missing. At the time, investigators deduced that foraging animals had mutilated the body as it lay in the woods.

Dr. Speth said the apparent absence of vermin on the boy’s remains — and clues suggesting the child’s face and one of his feet decayed more slowly than other parts of the body — indicated that the body had been dumped in the woods well after the abduction and that chemicals commonly found in laboratories had also probably been used.

“Bruno could not have conceived of it and could not have carried it out,” Dr. Speth said in an interview. He called Hauptmann’s execution “a terrible miscarriage of justice.”

The Academy of Forensic Sciences routinely includes disclaimers noting that the research presented at its conferences is unverified, and Ms. Pearlman’s findings have not been subject to peer review. But a screening team would have had to approve Ms. Pearlman’s participation in the conference, and the academy published an abstract summarizing her findings, as is routine, Jeri Ropero-Miller, a scientist and member of the academy, said.

Still, authors who have also studied the crime and its characters extensively question Ms. Pearlman’s book and its extreme conclusions.

David M. Friedman, who wrote “The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever,” said he had not read Ms. Pearlman’s book but found the theory about Lindbergh and Carrel absurd.

“They were complicated, flawed men,” Mr. Friedman said. “But the idea that they would collaborate in an act of infanticide strikes me as malicious garbage.”

Ms. Love, Hauptmann’s relative, said she remained focused less on the whodunit than on helping to wipe away a stain that had haunted her family for nearly a century.

Her goal, she said, was to expose the limits of science and justice in the 1930s.

“With the hysteria and the horribleness of the crime, the police wanted to put a nice little bow,” she said.

“But in today’s court system it would have been a totally different outcome.”

Audio produced by Sarah Diamond .

Tracey Tully is a reporter for The Times who covers New Jersey, where she has lived for more than 20 years. More about Tracey Tully

Here are more fascinating tales you can’t help reading all the way to the end.

Saved by a Rescue Dog: He spent 13 years addicted to cocaine. Running a shelter for abused and neglected dogs in New York has kept him sober, but it hasn’t been easy .

An Art Mogul's Fall: After a dramatic rise in business and society, Louise Blouin finds herself unloading a Hamptons dream home in bankruptcy court .

America's Most Hated Man?: Tom Sandoval turned last year’s season of “Vanderpump Rules” into the best in reality TV’s history — and ruined his life in the process .

Inside an N.Y.P.D. Basement: In the office of the Manhattan Property Clerk, evidence and lost items arrive by the tens of thousands . A small band of officers and civilians has to manage never-ending pressure.

India’s Great Curry Clash: A court in Delhi has been asked to solve a bitter dispute between two families who have very different accounts of the origins of butter chicken , a dish beloved around the world.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of DNA Testing

DNA Testing

DNA testing has been around for some time, but until recently it was not commonly administered and then only on a doctor’s orders. But all of that has changed. Thanks to easy mail order DNA testing, record-shattering numbers of Americans are getting their DNA tested. In 2017 an estimated 12 million Americans had their DNA analyzed with one of these direct-to-consumer DNA test kits. That was more than all previous years combined. The explosion in DNA testing is partly attributable to the explosion in advertising of DNA testing. In 2016 Ancestry.com spent $109 million in ads extolling the benefits of DNA testing. The business of DNA testing has become fiercely competitive with the major players—Ancestry.com, 23 and Me, My Heritage DNA, Family Tree DNA, and others—offering DNA test kits for $60 to $199. So what are the benefits (the good), the drawbacks (the bad) and the negative outcomes (the ugly) of DNA testing?

Ancestry . In the past all we knew about our heritage and ancestors came from stories handed down by our parents and grandparents. A DNA test often can tell you more about who you than some hazy memories.

Connection to Your Roots. DNA testing can tell us what our “origin stories” are and can connect us to people who share our DNA. DNA testing has made it possible for people to find long-lost relatives.

Family Planning. Some parents-to-be use DNA tests to find out what genes (both good and bad) they are likely to pass onto their children.

Health Risks . Information about certain future health risks is embedded in our DNA.  Some DNA tests can unmask that information. Knowing what possible health conditions may occur gives us the opportunity to intervene and alter our lifestyle or seek early treatment to stay healthy. However, it is important to keep in mind that DNA results are not a diagnosis. The results only tell you about risk—that is the likelihood of a possible disease or disorder. You should discuss any findings about your health risks with your doctor.

Privacy issues.  Even though DNA testing companies have strict privacy policies, some consumer advocates have raised concerns about how DNA test results could be used by health insurance companies to bump up the cost of premiums or even to deny coverage. Employers, they say, could also use the information to turn down job applicants. Furthermore, some DNA testing companies are allowing access to their databases by law enforcement agencies. They also can be required by law to comply with a valid court order, subpoena, or search warrant for genetic or personal information. Although some major progress in protecting your genetic privacy happened when Congress passed the 2008 Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) which is supposed to bar discrimination on the basis of genetic information, many believe that the laws protecting genetic privacy are not nearly broad enough.

Hacking. DNA testing companies have a trove of the most personal information about their clients—their DNA. In 2017 millions of details about My Heritage customers were found on a private server. The company said DNA specifically was not breached, but that the hack is still troubling.

Negative Health Results . If you believe your health is perfect, but you take a DNA test and learn you carry a marker for a genetic disorder, that knowledge can be very distressing. Once you know about a medical issue it is impossible to un-know it.

False Results. The direct-to-consumer DNA test kits can produce false positives—for example, implying that person has a genetic marker for a disease when in reality they don’t. Similarly, the tests can produce false negatives—completely missing a key genetic trait.

Family Issues. Children find out that their parents aren’t really their parents, a father finds out that the child he raised isn’t his biological child, or an unknown son or daughter from a previous relationship shows up at the door—these scenarios that routinely happen with DNA testing can turn a family upside down. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

If you decide to join millions of other Americans and have your DNA tested, here is some good advice from the Mayo Clinic: “No matter what the results of your genetic testing, talk with your doctor, [a] medical geneticist or [a] genetic counselor about questions or concerns you may have. This will help you understand what the results mean for you and your family.”

Timothy J. Cuddigan (Founder - Retired)

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Argumentative Essay on Genetic Testing

By: Fonta   •  Essay  •  833 Words  •  April 20, 2010  •  2,314 Views

Although genetic testing can benefit society in numerous ways, such as the diagnosis of vulnerabilities to inherited diseases and ancestry verification, it also has the precarious capability to become a tool in selecting a more favorable genetic makeup of an individuals and ultimately cloning humans. Genetic testing will depreciate our quality of life and may result in discrimination, invasion of privacy, and harmful gene therapy.

In 1993 a pamphlet by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute was released heralding Gene Therapy. Although gene testing had been around and used for various procedures and breakthroughs, gene therapy had the potential to change the face of research, as we knew it. Medical scientists had finally found a way to manipulate human genes and possibly change faulty genes in an attempt to replace them in order to treat and cure diseases. Thus the first patients were treated at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Two years after receiving their last infusions of generally altered cells to boost their weakened immune systems; the first patients ever to undergo gene therapy are still healthy and benefiting from the treatment. According to a historic research paper published in Science on October 19, 1995, the two girls still have white blood cells bearing copies of the replacement ADA gene. Patient One, whose health improved significantly following gene therapy, has maintained a normal white blood cell count as well as measurable levels of the ADA enzyme, which was almost nonexistent prior to the treatment. The process was less efficient in Patient Two. Only about one percent of her T cells incorporated the virus into their DNA.

In another case, an 18-year-old Arizona man with a rare metabolic disease participated in a controversial experiment which marked the first death attributed to gene therapy. Jesse Gelsinger, a high school graduate who episodically suffered from a serious genetic disorder that often leads to coma and death in childhood, died Sept. 17, 1999 after undergoing an experimental therapy administered at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Thousands of U.S. patients have been treated with various kinds of gene therapy, an experimental technique in which doctors use live viruses and other means to transport potentially therapeutic genes into the body just as Gelsinger was.

Gelsinger suffered from Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a genetic disorder that affects mostly boys. The disease blocks the body's ability to break down ammonia, a normal byproduct of metabolism, and often causes death soon after birth. As a result the FDA initiated proceeding that could have prevented the University of Pennsylvania gene therapy researcher, James Wilson, from testing experimental drugs or products on human subjects in this country. He repeatedly or deliberately violated regulations governing the proper conduct of clinical studies.

How many people can say that they would want someone they trusted to perform a procedure that ultimately

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Argumentative Essay The Ethics of Animal Testing

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dna testing argumentative essay

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