DNA testing is widely used for the purpose of genetic identification — identifying individuals based on their DNA profiles. Genetic identification
mainly uses the technique of DNA profiling, which creates a record of an individual's DNA using STR markers. When a situation requires genetic
identification, samples that are believed to come from a missing person may be tested and compared to a DNA profile on record to identify the
source of the samples — if they are indeed from the missing person.
If a record of a person's DNA profile is unavailable, genetic identification can still be achieved by testing family members to determine if the
unidentified samples came from a person biologically related to that family.
Under certain circumstances, it may be beneficial to combine genetic identification with DNA safeguarding, especially to:
- Provide 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
- Identify individuals affected in crisis situations, such as mass disasters or war
- Maintain DNA samples of children in case they are abducted or run away
- Use in future DNA testing, such as paternity or grandparentage testing
- Identify inherited diseases (see the Genetic Testing page)
Genetic identification also has applications in the field of forensics.
To learn more about how genetic identification has played a major role in post-crisis situations, visit the links to news stories below.