DNA banking is the secure, long term storage of an individual’s genetic material. DNA is most commonly extracted from blood, but can also be obtained from cheek cells, saliva, or other tissues. DNA banks can serve many purposes in today's society. Evidently, there are many different resources through which people can map and bank their DNA today. DNA banks allow for conservation of genetic material and comparative analysis of an individual's genetic information. Analyzing an individual's DNA can allow scientists to predict genetic disorders, as used in preventative genetics or gene therapy, and prove that person's identity, as used in the criminal justice system. There are multiple methods for testing and analyzing genetic information, including restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and polymerase chain reactions (PCR).
DNA banking is used to conserve genetic material, especially that of organisms that face extinction. This is a more prominent issue today due to deforestation and climate change, which serve as a threat to biodiversity. The genetic information can be stored within lambda phage and plasma vectors. The NIAS DNA Bank, for example, collects the DNA of agricultural organisms, such as rice and fish, for scientific research. Most DNA provided by DNA banks is used for studies to attempt to develop more productive or more environmentally friendly agricultural species. Some DNA banks also store the DNA of rare or endangered species to ensure their survival.〔Meurant, Gerard (2012). Conservation of Plant Genes : Dna Banking and in Vitro Biotechnology. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com〕
The DNA bank can be used to compare and analyze DNA samples. Comparing the samples allowed scientists to work on the Human Genome Project, which maps out many of the genes on human DNA. It has also led to the development of preventative genetics. Samples from the DNA bank have been used to identify patterns and determine which genes lead to specific disorders. Once people know which genes lead to disorders, people can take steps to lessen the effects of that disorder. This can occur through adjustments in lifestyle, as demonstrated in Preventive healthcare, or even through gene therapy. DNA can be banked at any time during a person’s life.〔Stewart, A. (2007). Genetics, health care, and public policy: An introduction to public health genetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.〕 Approximately 75% of all diseases can be traced to our genetic makeup. With testing you can know what diseases you are at risk of developing. By doing this you can take preventative measures to minimize these risks. Current technology is already capable of using DNA to predict certain health predispositions in the family, and advances are being made to identify many more. Knowing your family’s genetic history assists in early detection, making it possible to take measures to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects of the disease before it is too late.〔"SecuriGene - DNA Banking Capsule." SecuriGene. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.〕
DNA data banks were introduced to the criminal justice system in the 1980s. This system makes it possible to rule out or confirm the verdict of a suspect based on their personal genetic code. Once an individual’s DNA is stored, it remains in the system. Evidently law enforcement can identify and track criminals more easily. There is some controversy about this topic because some individuals believe the storage of citizen’s DNA is an invasion of privacy. 〔Krimsky, S., & Simoncelli, T. (2011). Genetic justice: DNA data banks, criminal investigations, and civil liberties. New York: Columbia University Press.〕
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