DNA Profiling

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License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike DNA Profiling Thomas Hardye School
Views: 1349
01 Dec, 2007


If the police collect a sample of your DNA from a crime scene, they can keep it on file indefinitely. Good idea, or bad idea?

Director's Notes:

In England & Wales, if the police collect a sample of your DNA from a crime scene, they can keep it on file indefinitely — even if there’s no indication that you were involved, and even if you’re under 16. As a result, the UK has one of the largest DNA databases in the world. Proponents say this database has an important role to play in maintaining national security; opponents say it’s an infringement of our basic rights.

What do you think? Should we prevent the police knowing so much about us? Or does it not matter, because they could already find anything they needed on us from our Facebook and Bebo pages?

This film sets up a simple scenario: a student cadges a lift from a mate, and after he’s been dropped off the driver is involved in a hit-and-run accident. Samples of the student’s DNA are found in the abandoned vehicle, and he’s tracked down because his DNA profile is already on file, following previous allegations.

Work through the example — there’s an awful lot of subtlety here.

This film was made for Inside DNA, a huge new exhibition that opened this week in At-Bristol. It’ll be there until September 2008, then touring all over the UK. There’s more information about visiting the Bristol leg of the exhibition on this page.

SciCast Notes:

Making this sort of film is straightforward enough, if you have a bit of time to work out what you’re trying to achieve, and to plan it all out. As ever with SciCast, however, this group had a day to lash something together.

What you see here, then, is quite an achievement. The accident may be one of the least-convincing ever caught on camera, but it’s surprisingly hard to shoot that sort of thing while avoiding the genuine risk of running over your actor, and it works well enough.

If you visit the InsideDNA exhibition itself you’ll see the film with a bit more context surrounding it about the DNA profile databases, and the legal position of your control over your data. As of late November 2007 and the HMRC accidentally losing child support records, we’re all a bit more aware of what ‘government database’ means. There are at least two sides to all arguments about this stuff — head to the exhibition and get yourself clued-up!

— Jonathan


Myles wrote, on 18 December, 2012:


Cameron Deans wrote, on 18 December, 2012:

Keep it up! more knockdowns please:-)