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Science Café to cover DNA’s role in bringing justice

Stuart J. Haring, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at NDSU, will present “DNA Profiling: Providing Justice One Molecule at a Time” Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. in Stokers Basement, Hotel Donaldson, 101 N. Broadway, as part of the Science Café series.

The presentation will target the one thing people take with them every day and leave almost everywhere they go – deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

The biological molecule DNA is contained within each cell of the human body. Although everyone’s DNA makeup is very similar, there are many regions of DNA that are unique to each individual. Much like gender, height, weight, hair/eye color and identifying marks, the variable DNA regions also can be used as unique personal identifiers.

“Although DNA analysis has been around for more than 25 years, it is only recently, as more rigor has been established for evidence collection and handling and more reliable and efficient techniques have been developed, that DNA analysis is becoming the accepted choice to establish identity ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ ” Haring said. “Whether in court cases or natural disasters, DNA is often becoming the star witness in identity determination, especially when video, eyewitnesses and fingerprints are not available,” he said.

This discussion will address exactly how DNA is analyzed and how the information can be used to convict or exonerate, identify missing persons and victims of disasters, and confirm or deny paternity.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Attendees must be 21 or older or accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, contact Keri Drinka at or 231-6131.

Science Café, sponsored by NDSU’s College of Science and Mathematics, features a presentation by a scientist and time for discussion with the scientist and other attendees.



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North Dakota State University
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Last Updated: Thursday, August 08, 2013 8:33:23 AM