DNA testing in Kuwait and what is its basic purpose? | DNA Test in Kuwait

January 24, 20160 Comments

Published in KUWAIT TIMES & quoted from Zawya

Q: Tell us about DNA testing and what is its basic purpose?

Back in the 1980s, Professor Sir Alec Jeffery discovered that every human being has a different DNA print that could be detected in each person’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in unencrypted areas and genes that cannot be affected or altered by diseases. This was a scientific breakthrough that had great impact on forensic medicine and helped identify culprits by matching samples of their DNA with evidence or crime weapons found at crime scenes using Locard’s exchange principle theory.

DNA tests have proven very effective over the past decade and have been used in solving many crimes by matching biological evidence collected from crime scenes with databases. Therefore, many advanced countries started building their DNA databases according to regulations that ensured information confidentiality, which is reassuring for people subject to the test, be they suspects or volunteers willingly donating their specimens to serve justice. The process started in the UK where authorities started collecting specimens from suspects in 1995, then developed to include larger segments of people.

The US comes second in this regard, as it started building its DNA database in 1998 and now includes DNA fingerprints of over 15 million people from all states. More countries gradually started following the same steps of utilizing DNA databases in criminal investigations.

Passing law number 78/2015 places Kuwait at par with those countries. Kuwait will have a database including DNA fingerprints of all citizens, residents and visitors. This law is the first of its kind in the world and Kuwait is the first country worldwide to apply the system.

The DNA testing law that will go into effect this year is aimed at creating an integrated security database and does not include genealogical implications or affects personal freedoms and privacy. Senior officials told Kuwait Times that the law, the first of its kind in the world, will only be used for criminal security purposes. When the law (no. 78/2015) is applied, it will be binding on all citizens, expatriates and visitors too. A Kuwaiti security delegation had earlier visited Washington to study DNA testing systems there.

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The National Assembly passed the DNA testing law on July 2, 2015 that will be mandatory on everyone in Kuwait in order to fight crime and terrorism. Kuwait Times was given exclusive and rare access to the DNA lab located at the General Department of Criminal Evidence in Dajeej in an effort to learn more about the latest developments regarding the law.

Senior officials in charge of the project, who spoke to Kuwait Times on the condition of anonymity, explained how the database will be used, the process of collecting samples and privacy concerns.

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