DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is found in the nucleus of all cells, and contains the genetic information for the development and working of living organisms including human beings. The study of DNA is used in forensics, gene therapy, relationship (including paternity) testing and bioinformatics. Newspaper articles and television programmes detailing the uses of DNA over the past decade have meant that public interest and public consciousness of DNA has risen sharply.
Consent and DNA
In all but exceptional cases (such as the prevention or detection of crime), the law requires that consent is obtained from the person whose DNA is to be tested.
The applicable law is contained in the Human Tissue Act 2004 (HT Act). The HTA's remit in the area of DNA analysis is overseeing the consent provisions of the HT Act.
For information on non-consensual DNA analysis, for obtaining scientific or medical information about the person whose body manufactured the DNA, and how to apply to the HTA to do this, please see our policy on non-consensual DNA analysis
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