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How to use your DNA knowledge to increase your DBA skills

19 May,2021 by Tom Collins

I'm interested to know more about building a database system for DNA analysis. There is commentary below about the various situations in which your DNA can be stored in the UK. The UK has one of the largest percentage of population sample rates of DNA .

I understand there are multiple issues related to storing DNA. Balancing crime detection and individual rights remains a source of ongoing and heated debate, 

My interest is in the technology. Although I appreciate ethics, personal rights and legal questions are all part of the mix.

Hurtling into the future - I can see a scenario where your DNA moves around and is used for countless applications. Or maybe I've watched to many movies - Blade Runner ,Ex Machina , Never Let me go - to name a few 


Here are some interesting details about the UK National DNA database

  • The national DNA database was founded in 1995 and by 2005 it had 3.1 million profiles. The most recent data says that in 2016 there were 5.86 million profiles.
  • The samples are populated by police suspects/crime scenes – however suspects not charged or not found guilty are deleted off the database.
  • Only short tandem repeat patterns are stored within the database, not full genomic sequence.
  • Because of DNA being inherited, the database can also be used to indirectly identify others in the population that are related to a database subject
  • Many stored samples degrade and therefore are not useful anymore – samples that are taken with swabs and dry brushes
  • Amelogenin is a series of closely related proteins and is useful when extracted from swabs to find out the suspects sex.
  • A large change in the database that took place between 2000 and 2005 cost over £300 million and was completed to include all known active offenders within the system.
  • The NDNAB was previously run by the national policing improvement agency but is not run by the Home Office.
  • Liberal democrats believe that innocent people’s DNA should not be held on the database indefinitely and they launched a national online petition arguing that there is no legitimate reason for the police to retain DNA records of innocent people for life.
  • They released, to back their campaign, statistics showing that in November 2007, nearly 150,000 children under the age of 16 have their details on the database.
  • Census and home office date indicates that by 2007 almost 40% of black men had their DNA profile on the database compared to 13% of Asian men and 9% of white men.
  • The issue of taking fingerprints and a DNA sample was involved in a case decided at the High Court in March 2006. A teacher who was accused of assault won the right to have her DNA sample and fingerprints destroyed. They had been taken whilst she was in custody, but after the Crown Prosecution Services had decided to not pursue any charges against her.
  • The data held on the National DNA Database(NDAND) consists of both demographic sample data and the numerical DNA profile.
  • Whenever a new profile is submitted, the NDNAD's records are automatically searched for matches between individuals and unsolved crime-stain records and unsolved crime-stain to unsolved crime-stain records - linking both individuals to crimes and crimes to crimes. 


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