Thursday, February 26, 2009

I swear

If I see one more student test paper where they say DNA fingerprinting is

- getting fingerprints from the crime scene and lifting DNA from them

- something related to everyone's DNA being unique and that makes their fingerprints unique


- totally ignores the "DNA" part and talks about crime-scene fingerprinting

I will have to CUT somebody. Dammit, I talk about this every freaking semester. It is in the book. I show demonstration slides in class. I talk about IDing bodies after 9/11, I talk about paternity testing.

It is not that (bleeping) hard! Except, apparently, it is.

Look, guys, I'm a freaking ecologist - I could probably not successfully DO DNA fingerprinting in a lab if Abby Scuito was standing next to me, holding a $1000 bill and saying, "You get this when the gel comes out successfully." And I know what a bleeding DNA fingerprint is!

In other news, I was greatly alarmed by the last position paper - topic: should we establish a national DNA bank where every citizen has to provide a sample, so crimes could be "solved almost as soon as they're committed." Practically EVERYONE said, "I don't plan on committing a crime so I wouldn't mind giving a sample" Privacy issues? Corruption in government leading to planted evidence? Cost? (I did have one student - God bless her - who looked up what such a thing would cost and based her argument on "The U.S. cannot afford this kind of a thing")

But I worry intensely about the upcoming generation, who have been subjected to walking in through metal detectors to get into high schools, who have had to carry clear backpacks. They now no longer have any expectation of privacy and are happy to surrender WHATEVER because the government tells them it's a good idea.

My response to a DNA bank for "crime prevention" would be: "I don't plan on committing a crime. Therefore, you don't need my DNA." Except, then I probably just DID commit a crime, by saying that.


nightfly said...

Well, we'll have to be criminals altogether, then. They can have my DNA profile when I'm no longer alive to have an issue with it.

Geez, if it keeps up, we'll all be criminals and the US will, in essence, be a country-sized prison with no walls. Our jobs will be the prison tasks we're assigned to keep the jail up and running. Our houses will be fitted so they all lock on the outside rather than the inside. What with the professional entertainments, sports, video games, and other organized inmate activities, we'll hardly notice the complete end of freedom.

Who is Number One?

The Fifth String said...

Good grief. When I learned this stuff in school, the Sanger plus-minus method was state of the art. Have these kids never watched CSI? Your average couch potato knows that much.

Oh, and it's not just planted evidence and such that are at stake. Come National Health Care, they'll be telling people (based on DNA fingerprinting) how to best live their lives, according to the dictates of their "caretakers" in Washington. And just maybe a few will be sterilized, lest they pass on a risk of some dread disorder.

Kate P said...

Yup, I do worry that kids will grow up thinking it's just the way things are done, standard procedure--the less you have to think, act, etc., the better the plan. Ugh.

The "Abby" reference made me LOL. Love her.