The National DNA Database on Trial: Avoiding the Usual Suspects

Dr Rachel Iredale from the Genomics Policy Unit, Faculty of Health, Sport and Science at the University of Glamorgan has been awarded £27,914 by the Wellcome Trust for a project entitled ‘The National DNA Database on Trial: Avoiding the Usual Suspects’.

The project will focus on young people aged 16-19 who have been convicted of a criminal offence and whose details are already on the National DNA database. These young people will be drawn from the Vale of Glamorgan, mainly, Barry, and will work together to put the National DNA Database on trial.

The charge is: ‘That the National DNA Database is an unacceptable infringement of civil liberties’. All the roles at this Trial (jurors, witnesses, prosecution and defence) will be played by these young people. The Trial will take place in November 2008 in order to coincide with Inside Justice week and it is being undertaken in conjunction with The Wales Gene Park, Techniquest and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust.

This project is timely as it coincides with a public consultation recently launched by the Human Genetics Commission who will be reporting on the forensic use of DNA and genetic information to government later this year. The Human Genetics Commission has estimated that 25% of the male population and 7% of the female population will soon be on the National DNA database.

Dr Rachel Iredale, Principal Investigator for the project says “the project will enable these young people to think about the National DNA Database in ways they may not have previously done. They will acquire an understanding during the course of the project about genetic issues that make personal sense to them and which are located within their own particular environments”.

Strategies for disseminating the results of this project will be driven by participants and will include informing the Human Genetics Commission of their ‘verdict’.

For further information contact:
Rachel Iredale
Genomics Policy Unit
Faculty for Health, Sport and Science
University of Glamorgan
CF37 1DL
Tel: 01443-483075

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2 Responses to The National DNA Database on Trial: Avoiding the Usual Suspects

  1. theagingfanboy says:

    Any money on the verdict? I think that the problem is that libertarians and the police think differently. Although most people who are sampled are not found guilty, most people who are found guilty have been charged before. If you ask the police to run a thing like that you can’t blame them for thinking like policemen.

  2. Rachel says:

    To the agingfanboy: So what do you think the Verdict will be? Is the National DNA Database an unacceptable infringement on civil liberties or not?

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