Some Ethical Issues in Forensic Genetics
Forensic DNA Applications: An Interdisciplinary Perspective 527-37 (Dragan Primorac & Moses Schanfield eds. 2014)
13 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2014 Last revised: 30 Jun 2015
Date Written: March 15, 2013
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
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