Some Ethical Issues in Forensic Genetics

Forensic DNA Applications: An Interdisciplinary Perspective 527-37 (Dragan Primorac & Moses Schanfield eds. 2014)

Penn State Law Research Paper No. 48-2014

13 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2014 Last revised: 30 Jun 2015

See all articles by Erin Williams

Erin Williams

MITRE Corporation

David H. Kaye

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law; Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - School of Life Science

Date Written: March 15, 2013

Abstract

The extensive and sensitive nature of the genetic information locked in the coils of the DNA molecule gives rise to ethical issues in forensic genetics. This chapter surveys such issues. Section 1 offers an overview of the major concepts in bioethics, drawing some preliminary connections to issues that arise in forensic genetics. Section 2 addresses the ethics of acquiring DNA samples from crime scenes and other locations and from the bodies of individuals. Section 3 outlines a range of ethical concerns with DNA databanks and databases. Section 4 concerns efforts to infer phenotypes from genotypes to assist in criminal investigations. Section 5 identifies ethical concerns that arise in identifying human remains, particularly in mass disasters or conflicts. Finally, Section 6 discusses the professional and ethical standard for reporting forensic laboratory results and testifying about them. The chapter simply catalogs these issues. It appears in Forensic DNA Applications: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, a textbook and reference work of the International Society of Applied Biological Sciences.

Keywords: DNA evidence, DNA databases, familial searching, phenotyping, medical information privacy

Suggested Citation

Williams, Erin and Kaye, David H., Some Ethical Issues in Forensic Genetics (March 15, 2013). Forensic DNA Applications: An Interdisciplinary Perspective 527-37 (Dragan Primorac & Moses Schanfield eds. 2014); Penn State Law Research Paper No. 48-2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2540223

Erin Williams

MITRE Corporation ( email )

202 Burlington Road
Bedford, MA 01730
United States

David H. Kaye (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law ( email )

University Park, PA 16802
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/dhk3/index.htm

Arizona State University - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law - School of Life Science ( email )

111 E Taylor St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.personal.psu.edu/dhk3/index.htm

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