DMPQ-. Explain how DNA technology regulation bill will cement the link between technology and policy.

. Recently, the parliamentary committee on science and technology submitted its report on the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation bill with a set of recommendations.

The purpose of the bill is to regulate the use of DNA information for establishing the identity of people. An index is sought to be created and maintained by national and regional “DNA banks”. The indices are meant for criminals, undertrials, missing and deceased persons. The bill allows different kinds of operations to be performed on such genetic material. One of the common applications of DNA technology is to create profiles of people using nails, hair, swabs and so on. Bodily types will be compared, categorised, homogenised and excluded, along with the inferences drawn from these divisions.

These profiles are then meant to guide law enforcement in investigations. Although the technology has been used (without proper regulation) under criminal procedure codes, the bill will institutionalise its use within the justice system with the maintenance of databases.

Experts believe that the bill leaves ample room for misuse, and that its consent provisions are not strong. A more fundamental concern is that DNA technology for identification derives from antiquated and discredited methods. Scientists confirm that much of DNA analysis involving statistical modelling algorithms embed judgments of the people behind the creation of these tools. This means that DNA samples collected are used to statistically create composites of “types” of people — racial, ethnic and so on. These methods, in their composition of types, in the inferences drawn, and the mathematical fact of computing averages to arrive at the estimates of types, have the scope for giving a scientific varnish to existing social and cultural bias.


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