DNA Identification, Joint Rights and Collective Responsibility

Marcus Smith, Seumas Miller

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DNA identification developed late in the twentieth century and has surpassed fingerprinting as the leading technique for forensic human identification. It differs from the other biometrics discussed in that it is based on principles of biological, rather than physical sciences. Another difference is the time taken to convert a biological sample into a DNA profile; however, this is becoming less significant as technology progresses. DNA is also more accurate and revealing in comparison with other biometrics because it can provide information about a person’s physical appearance and health status, as well as link an individual to, and in association with further investigations, identify, their biological relatives. This chapter examines DNA identification in law enforcement, related developments associated with commercial genomic health and ancestry databases, and the potential impact of population wide DNA collection. The ethical analysis considers privacy and autonomy, self-incrimination, joint rights and collective responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiometric Identification, Law and Ethics
EditorsMarcus Smith, Seumas Miller
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030902568
ISBN (Print)9783030902551
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSpringerBriefs in Ethics
ISSN (Print)2211-8101
ISSN (Electronic)2211-811X


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