here is a current hubub about wild assertions that the government will ‘own’ your DNA.  I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean.  The government has identification information about you already if you have a driver’s license, a birth certificate or a social security card.  If you have a CCW permit, have ever been arrested, or simply submitted to a background check, the government also has a record of your fingerprints.  It is now in the works that if you are ever arrested that you will also have to submit a sample of your DNA.

Having a record of something is not the same as owning it.  The government is collecting DNA samples which are then submitted for testing and recording of a DNA profile for identification purposes.  They can tell some basic information about you from a simple DNA test but the real value for identification is if there is a match with an unknown DNA sample for criminal or other forensic purposes.

You do have a significant ownership right in you body and body parts although the government will not allow you to sell the parts in a pre-meditated matter to the highest bidder.  So no, you can’t sell your kidney.  If you are hurt on the job and lose a finger your state government has already determined the value of that finger and that is all you will be paid for it through workers’ compensation legislation.  It is sort of sad that while  you cannot sell your body or parts, the government has already determined the value of the same.  Even if you die on the job, you will only recover the statutory amount allowed.

With DNA sampling and recording, the government has a new tool for identifying people.  Many years ago, blood types were kept on file for prisoners and criminals.  DNA samples will be a double edged sword really.  It is a more intrusive way of identifying people but can also help to avoid false identification and conviction of people who may be accused of a crime.

Here is a primer on DNA testing and how it works.  It is pretty interesting reading if you don’t know how it works.  Here is an article describing some of the process involved in testing a certain stained blue dress for a DNA sample of a former president who might be eligible for first husband this year.  (Yikes.)  Here is a quiz so you can test your DNA evidence knowledge.  I got 6 of 9 on the first try.  Here is an article about a potentially inexpensive and rapid DNA matching test involving a gold water solution.  Pretty interesting stuff.

Some of the fear of DNA testing is that people will know all about you, your hereditary diseases, if you are prone to same sex attraction, the color of you eyes and all of the other private data about you.  We are still several years off from anything like that and it is possible that kind of understanding from DNA will never materialize.  The Human Genome project took several years to complete the mapping of a human gene, and they still don’t really know what it all means but they are working on it.

This is still another encroachment on our privacy rights, but there are several people who have been released from prison that are glad we now have DNA testing.

Comments  Welcome

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