DNA Typing in the Criminal Justice Field

Since DNA typing was invented, it has proved to be the most scientifically valid procedure in forensic science for human identification. It has been immensely implemented in crime labs across the world and has been popular in the media (Frith, 2007). The popularity of this DNA typing is evidenced by the fact that it is one of the forensic procedures that has become somewhat a cultural icon in the sense that it signifies scientific certainty in criminal justice field, and particularly in the law enforcement component of the criminal justice system (Butler, 2012). It is against this background that it is worth investigating the history of DNA typing. Dr. Alec Jeffreys first discovered DNA typing in September 1984. Jeffreys was a geneticist at the University of Leicester at the time of the discovery (Wall, 2005). He discovered while studying hereditary diseases in families where he was focusing on methods of resolving immigration and paternity disputes through demonstration of genetic links between individuals (Fisher et al., 2009). It is during this study that he realized that presence of Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (VNTRs) in human beings could be used in establishing a person’s identity. He named this technique DNA typing or DNA fingerprinting (Goodwin et al., 2007). Through this technique, Dr. Jeffreys illustrated that a genetic fingerprint is unique and specific to each. Also, he established that the genetic fingerprint pattern does not belong to another individual on earth apart from cases of identical twins (McCartney, 2006). Upon the discovery made by Dr. Jeffreys, DNA typing technique was first used by immigration officers to confirm whether the prospective immigrants were indeed related to the persons they claimed to relate to in their country of interest. The application of the technique in the criminal justice field began in 1986 and has since then played a very fundamental role in the field (Butler amp. Butler, 2010). First Murder Conviction Utilizing DNA (Leicestershire Murders – suspect Colin Pitchfork)