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Genetic applications in law enforcement have advanced rapidly, as evidenced by the omnipresence of DNA profiling in popular culture. In addition to expanding the scope of the federal DNA database, detectives are using increasingly creative approaches to harness genetic information to develop investigative leads on cases, whether through familial searching, or through molecular photofitting. Increased scale of genomic databases and new genome sequencing technologies means law enforcement now has access to greater population and data than ever before. The pace of the science, the increasing scope of application, and the expansion of DNA databases has far out-paced public dialogue about the social impact and ethical implications of current practices. Given the fragmented oversight of forensic technologies, our research examines the ethical dimensions surrounding these applications.
Genomics Issues in the Media
The news media is influential in determining which issues receive public attention and conveying opinions of the public. An analysis of media coverage can provide scientists and administrators insight into how science is understood by the journalists and reporters who cover their areas of interest and then communicated to the broader public. Social media also has come to play an important role in news consumption and public policy discussion. While news inaccuracy on social media platforms is a common concern, most users still see advantages to consuming news through this medium. Understanding the network of media information developed, accessed, and relayed by the public will help to develop a map of what the public concerns are for the use of genetic information in secondary and nonmedical contexts and the scope and accuracy of the information being relayed.