By Muhammad Bello Mustapha
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that contains the instructions an organism needs to develop, live and reproduce. These instructions are found inside every cell and are passed down from parents to their children. DNA was first discovered by a German biochemist named frederich Miescher in 1969. But for many years, researchers did not realize the importance of this molecule. It was not until 1953 that James Watson, Francis crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind franklin figured out that the structure of a DNA is double helix. They also discovered that the double helix is composed of four different type bases with complementary base pairing of adenine always with thymine and guanine with cytosine. No restriction on how many bases are to be sequenced on a strand of DNA. Nitrogenous bases are always paired A-T and C-G Held together by weak hydrogen bonds. Study into the structure of the human genome has led to the discovery that portions of the DNA structure of certain genes are as unique to each individual as fingerprints.
DNA FORENSIC ANALYSIS
This is a process of collecting and examining DNA from biological samples, developing DNA profiles from crime stains, developing DNA profiles from reference samples and comparing them to establish a connection or a link between a suspect and a crime, identify a missing person or link a suspect to an event in order to apprehend the offender.
APPLICATIONS OF DNA FORENSIC ANALYSIS
Forensics are used to:
Link a suspect to a crime scene
Identify a missing or dead person.
Link a suspect to an event.
CRIME IN NIGERIA
Every society across the globe has its peculiar problems and challenges, Nigeria is not an exception. As a developing country, she faces her own share of social, political, economic and cultural problems which has in no small measure affected the wellbeing of the populace. Such problems bedeviling the country include youth unemployment, and the rising wave of crime, which have serious implications for national development. (Onoge 1988). The media, both print and electronic is awash daily with reports of crimes committed and the seeming helplessness of the law enforcement agents especially the police in curtailing the ugly and disturbing trends has made it more worrisome. Nigeria has been on the global crime map since 1980s (Dambazau, 2007). The nature of these crimes includes armed robbery, murder, rape, car theft, burglary, fraud, bribery and corruption, food and drug adulteration, gambling, human trafficking, kidnapping, drug trafficking, money laundering, internet scams and other illegal activities. (Daily sketch, 1990; Aremu and Ahmed, 2011). Sadly, there are reports of crimes committed mostly by youth at virtually every corner of the country. Criminality has become an integral part of the Nigerian state. (Okafor 2011).
DNA forensic analysis is a valuable tool in fighting against crime, but there is a debate about whether police powers to keep people’s details on record are justified.
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MUHAMMAD BELLO MUSTAPHA, WRITES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE LABORATORY TECHNOLOGY, FEDERAL POLYTECHNIC BALI, TARABA STATE.