DNA genetic testing is a science which is still in its relative infancy, having only been discovered just over twenty years ago. The potential for this science is virtually limitless, but its very exact nature is what can cause it to fall down if the correct procedures are not adhered to closely enough. The standards which the criminal justice system needs to set are so exacting that many of the DNA techniques of the present cannot produce results of sufficient quality and clarity to satisfy.
The use of genetic testing in criminal law has seen some spectacular successes, as well as some embarrassing failures. There are a few individuals who served many years in prison for crimes they did not commit, who have now been released after DNA evidence proved beyond doubt that they were not the perpetrator. Many criminals have been traced and caught due to the forensic evidence they left at the scene of the crime. On the other hand, there have been a great many flawed investigations, caused by the improper handling of DNA exhibits or the testing equipment itself.
There are other uses for DNA testing, which have far less serious implications to society as a whole, but which can still profoundly affect the lives of individuals caught up in the cases concerned. DNA analysis is a perfect complement for family issues, because the patterns of DNA relate so closely to the family. The strands which are used to differentiate between one individual and another are created from the genes of the parents. This is why DNA paternity testing usually produces a result which is absolutely clear cut.
The same can be said, albeit to a slightly lesser degree, about other family issues such as determining blood relatives when a will is contested. Any time that members of a family are tested using these techniques, the results usually leave little room for doubt. This is assuming, of course, that there are no tricks being played to try to cheat the system. Samples can always be switched if supervision is not carried out properly, and there has even been a case where a doctor inserted foreign blood into his arm so that his own blood was never tested.
The key to successful DNA genetic testing is to make sure that the tests are carried out properly, with rigorous attention to detail. Whenever there is any chance that a sample may be contaminated, or a procedure not properly followed, you can be sure that the tests will be challenged in a court room. Forensic testing is at something of a crossroads in its development, and an improvement in the professionalism of testing centers and those who administer the tests would allow it to progress to the next level. There is a lot of potential for DNA genetic testing.