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Is the DNA database too big?

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a genetic blueprint in the DNA labWhose DNA is it anyway?

A “citizens’ inquiry” instigated by the Human Genetics Commission, a government advisory body, wants the records of people who have not been convicted, or whose convictions are long spent, to be deleted from the forensic National DNA Database and says the whole archive should be overseen by an independent body.

The database was established in 1995 in Britain – the country where scientists first pioneered the technique of DNA fingerprinting.

It now contains genetic profiles on more than 4 million people, representing the highest proportion of any population on a forensic DNA database in the world, at over 6 percent.

A future government might misuse the information, members of the inquiry fear. One  says keeping all the DNA records would be the first step towards a totalitarian state.

Little angels?

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dna.jpgTwo initiatives have focused the mind on badly behaved children this week and how to deal with them.

Under the first, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls proposes that trouble-makers as young as 10 should sign a good behaviour contract . The “most challenging” among them will have to stick to the order or risk a criminal record.

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