When DNA profiling is used wisely, it can bring major benefits to society. Discuss.

DNA profiling is a forensic technique which is used to identify a person using his DNA characteristics. The process involves analysing the gathered DNA material collected in order to create a profile of the person.
Government is currently finalising DNA based technology (Use and Regulation) bill 2017 to establish regulatory institutions and standards for DNA testing, and supervise the activities involved.
DNA profiling can help the society as:

  1. It is an accurate and extremely useful in ascertaining the indentity of a person from his DNA sample.
  2. It is being used around the world for crime investigation especially crimes associated with terrorism. In India use of DNA based technology helped solve the Pune blast case by establishing the identity of criminals.
  3. Improve conviction rate in case of crimes where other evidence are not easily available and connect seemingly unrelated crimes.
  4. Apart from criminal investigation, the technology is useful in natural disasters to identify bodies
  5. Establishing identity of missing persons would become easier with the technology.

The use of technology is being opposed as

  1. Privacy concerns have been raised as data may be misusedas Aadhar data has already been misused.
  2. Fear that any failure on part of technology or sample contamination may have severe consequences if DNA result taken as ultimate evidence.
  3. Information like ancestry or susceptibility to a disease, or other genetic traits, is liable to be misused.
  4. DNA tests in countries where is being used have not led to improvement in conviction rate.

DNA profiling can be a boon if strong and effective safeguards are present against misuse both technologically and legally.DNA profiling cannot substitute  a shabby investigation for establishing the criminal offence and has to be used as part of  efficient investigative practice.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"When DNA profiling is used wisely, it can bring major benefits to society." Discuss.

Published: September 25, 2017 | Modified:June 27, 2019

Comments