Since the advent of DNA testing technology, much attention has been paid to DNA safeguarding — a process to ensure that the genetic information stored in a
person's DNA is preserved for future use. A laboratory can collect a DNA sample from a person and store it for many years (in a process called
DNA banking). By storing such samples, laboratories are able to retrieve secure, intact samples when the need arises for specific
individuals' reference DNA samples, particularly in times of emergency.
DNA safeguarding is commonly used to:
- Store a form of genetic identification for those employed in high-risk positions, such as military personnel, firefighters, police officers,
other emergency workers, and overseas contractors
- Maintain DNA samples of children in case they are abducted or run away
- Preserve DNA samples for future tests, such as paternity or grandparentage testing
- Identify inherited diseases (see the Genetic Testing page)
- Record and preserve DNA information for members of small ethnic populations
While DNA safeguarding is most commonly associated with the procedure known as of DNA banking, individuals may also opt for DNA profiling, a process by
which an STR profile of their DNA samples are created. In this way, their DNA profiles are on record in addition to their DNA samples. A DNA profile
can be readily used in future situations, such as when genetic identification or family relationship testing is required.