Chimera: A DNA Mystery

Essay by gadget73156College, UndergraduateA, December 2008

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The discovery of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) has revolutionized medical science. It has

given us ways to convict or free a person accused of a crime. It has also united families and

made organ transplants better by detailing and exclusively matching the recipient to the donor.

However, there is a little known rare glitch in the system. It's called chimera. Chimera is one

person having two completely different sets of DNA. It is clear it exists, it is unclear how it

may affect us as humans when we attempt to solve crimes, parentage or other reasons DNA is

needed to decode a mystery.

Forensic Science: The Beginning

The word "forensic" is a synonym for "legal". In Latin, it means "before the forum". In

Roman times, the accused and the accuser would give their version of the crime at hand. The

person with the best delivery would win.

Much like it is today.

The use of forensics dates back to 287-312 B.C. when Archimedes proved that a crown was

not made of gold as claimed. He used the method of water displacement in determining its

density and buoyancy. Carl Wilhelm Scheele developed a method of detecting arsenic in

corpses in 1775. In 1784, it was proven that gunpowder wrapped in a particular newspaper to

kill a man was also found in the accused's pocket.

Forensics branches off into many subdivisions which include but are not limited to:

criminalistics (ballistics, biological and trace evidence, and fingerprints), anthropology

identification of skeletonized (human remains), biology (serological and DNA analysis of

bodily fluids), pathology (combination of pathology and medicine to determine cause of death),

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and toxicology (drug and poison analysis).

DNA: A Mystery Solved?

DNA was first noticed by a Swiss doctor named Friedrich Meischer in...