DNA bank

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DNA banking is the secure, long term storage of an individual’s genetic material. DNA is most commonly extracted from blood, but can also be obtained from saliva and other tissues. DNA banks allow for conservation of genetic material and comparative analysis of an individual's genetic information. Analyzing an individual's DNA can allow scientists to predict genetic disorders, as used in preventative genetics or gene therapy, and prove that person's identity, as used in the criminal justice system. There are multiple methods for testing and analyzing genetic information including restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and polymerase chain reactions (PCR).


DNA banking is used to conserve genetic material, especially that of organisms that face extinction. This is a more prominent issue today due to deforestation and climate change, which serve as a threat to biodiversity. The genetic information can be stored within lambda phage and plasma vectors. The National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) DNA Bank, for example, collects the DNA of agricultural organisms, such as rice and fish, for scientific research. Most DNA provided by DNA banks is used for studies to attempt to develop more productive or more environmentally friendly agricultural species. Some DNA banks also store the DNA of rare or endangered species to ensure their survival.[1]

The DNA bank can be used to compare and analyze DNA samples. Comparison of DNA samples allowed scientists to work on the Human Genome Project, which maps out many of the genes on human DNA. It has also led to the development of preventative genetics. Samples from the DNA bank have been used to identify patterns and determine which genes lead to specific disorders. Once people know which genes lead to disorders, people can take steps to lessen the effects of that disorder. This can occur through adjustments in lifestyle, as demonstrated in preventive healthcare, or even through gene therapy. DNA can be banked at any time during a person's life.[2]

DNA banks were introduced to the criminal justice system in the 1980s. This system makes it possible to rule out or confirm the verdict of a suspect based on their personal genetic code. Once an individual’s DNA is stored, it remains in the system permanently; allowing law enforcement to identify and track criminals more easily. There is some controversy about this topic as some individuals believe the storage of citizen's DNA is an invasion of privacy.[3]

DNA banking capsules are also starting to be used for retaining the DNA of the deceased, a service offered by some funeral homes.[4]


Scientists are capable of retrieving genetic information from hair, skin, blood, sperm, tissue, and saliva as long as the sample contains intact DNA. Nucleotide sequences between humans differ by only 0.1%. Even so, this 0.1% includes approximately three million bases. DNA can be analyzed through restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and Polymerase chain reactions (PCR). The RFLP process was introduced in 1988. Restriction enzymes digest portions of the DNA, leaving short fragments. These fragments are sorted through gel electrophoresis. The gel demonstrates the length of the fragments allowing specialists to determine whether the fragments came from the same person. PCR is more commonly used today because it more efficient and requires smaller samples of genetic samples. [5]


There are various organizations founded for the purpose of storing and analyzing DNA sample. The UK Biobank aims to develop into a resource that contains the samples of 500,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 69.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Meurant, Gerard (2012). Conservation of Plant Genes : Dna Banking and in Vitro Biotechnology.
  2. ^ Stewart, A. (2007). Genetics, health care, and public policy: An introduction to public health genetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  3. ^ Krimsky, S., & Simoncelli, T. (2011). Genetic justice: DNA data banks, criminal investigations, and civil liberties. New York: Columbia University Press.
  4. ^ Jessica Inman (23 August 2015). "DNA collection allows mourning to memorialize the dead". Orlando Sentinel. 
  5. ^ Stewart, A. (2007). Genetics, health care, and public policy: An introduction to public health genetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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