Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Forensic DNA databases: genetic testing as a societal choice


In this brief report, the authors argue that while a lot of concerns about forensic DNA databases have been raised using arguments from biomedical ethics, these databases are used in a complete different context from other biomedical tools. Because they are used in the struggle against crime, the decision to create or store a genetic profile cannot be left to the individual. Instead, this decision is made by officials of a society. These decisions have to be based on a policy that is the concretisation of some of society's most fundamental ideas about its own nature and function. Individuals wanting to influence these decisions have to try to influence this policy, within the bounds of a state's own self-concept. This article is an attempt to reorient the discussion about forensic DNA databases from a biomedical debate to a more political–philosophical one.

  • Confidentiality/privacy
  • DNA databases
  • ethics
  • forensics
  • genetic screening/testing
  • genetic testing
  • government/criminal justices
  • philosophical ethics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.