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Famvir (Famciclovir)

Eric Lander, associate professor of biology at MIT’s Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is among those urging caution to law enforcement agencies now rushing to incorporate DNA fingerprinting into their police procedures. He says the method Dr. Jeffreys has devised may be flawless in theory but is not always so in practice, due to mix-ups that might occur in the laboratory.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation now has its own DNA lab. “Over the past 30 years, we have been doing a lot of research on biological evidence,” says John Hicks of the FBI’s laboratory division. “We know that somewhere in that stuff is the key to helping solve crimes. DNA profiling is the breakthrough we’ve been looking for.”
The FBI is training technicians from police labs throughout the country in DNA fingerprinting. It also encourages the use of universal standards, something Mr. Lander says he favors.
Several states now are taking blood samples from convicted rapists and other violent criminals. Their DNA profiles will be stored in a data bank for use by police across the United States. Using DNA fingerprinting, for example, detectives could trace a rapist convicted in Utah who later rapes in Ohio by matching the DNA “prints” on file with those in traces found on the victims. Statistics show that two of three criminals are arrested within a 3-year period for repeating their offenses.
Civil liberties groups warn that innocents might be convicted in the rush to apply the new technology. “DNA evidence is based on probabilities, not on exact matches,” says Janlori Goldman, who leads the Privacy and Technology Project for the American Civil Liberties Union. “Juries tend to be overwhelmed by the technology. It is a complex science, not easy to reduce to simple terms.”
But criminology is not DNA’s only arena. Dr. Svante Paabo, a researcher in Munich, Germany, formerly at the University of California at Berkeley, has DNA-fingerprinted a 7,000-year-old human brain found in a Florida swamp. He discovered that its DNA is a type unique to American Indians and Asians. “This might be a link to the ancient origins of native Americans,” Dr. Paabo says.
An even greater endeavor is the Human Genome Project. An international cooperative effort of scientists, it will try to map human DNA and the location of every gene it contains. That could lead to the improved detection, prevention, and treatment of all genetic diseases. It also will help with criminal identification: if scientists can pinpoint the gene for eye color, for example, a DNA analysis will tell the criminal’s eye color. Further clues might tell a suspect’s age and other characteristics. Although pessimists believed that the entire genome solution would go well into the next century, it looks as though new techniques have speeded the process.

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