4.15.2009

DNA pioneer Alec Jeffreys: drop innocent from database

·DNA scientist: drop innocent from database
·Father of genetic fingerprinting says thousands 'branded as criminals'


http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/apr/15/jeffreys-dna-database-human-rights-police

http://www.hud.ac.uk/news/hudd-lines/news_stories/08_04_images/jeffreys2.jpghttp://www.fidis.net/typo3temp/tx_rlmpofficelib_325f6aaae2.jpg

Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys

The inventor of genetic fingerprinting, Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, today warns that the government is putting at risk public support for the DNA national database by holding the genetic details of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Jeffreys, whose pioneering discoveries revolutionised police investigation techniques, condemned the government for leaving innocent people "branded as criminals" by its insistence on keeping the details of everyone arrested, regardless of whether they are later convicted.

He said he was left "almost speechless" by reports that the government planned to respond to a recent European court ruling - that storing innocent people's genetic details broke their right to privacy - by simply removing their profiles from the database but keeping the original DNA samples.

In an interview with the Guardian, he said: "I have significant concerns there [about the size of the database]. That database is currently populated by an unknown number of entirely innocent people. It is not possible to get an accurate number but it appears to be hundreds of thousands.

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