DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid :
is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organism, with the exception of some viruses;
is often compared to a set of blueprints;
segments that carry this genetic information are called genes;
sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in regulating the use of this genetic information.
is the process of analyzing genetic material from an individual to determine identity, susceptibility to disease and other important information;
has increased in popularity in the recent years in the fields of criminology, biomedicine, biotechnology and family law;
proves how much related these people are, and if two people having the same surname are related;
can also find out if two descendants hail from the same ancestor.
One major application of DNA testing is in forensic identification;
DNA test results are much clearer than fingerprints and it is with these results and proof that it is possible to find criminals;
DNA evidence from blood, skin or hair can be matched to the DNA of a suspect to determine information about where an individual was and who they may have come in contact with;
DNA analysis is especially important in cases of rape, where doctors can often examine a victim and find traces of the rapist's DNA, which can the be compared to suspects to determine the guilty party.
More and more old crimes are being solved by resubmitting evidence for enhanced DNA testing.
Another major advantage of DNA analysis is the ability to screen for certain genetic diseases or risk factors.
Prospective parents can be tested to determine if they carry genes that are responsible for certain conditions that may be present in other members of their families.
Women involved in certain fertility treatments can also get information about an embryo before it is implanted.