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Topics Homepage> The U.S. should establish a national DNA database for all residents.

The U.S. should establish a national DNA database for all residents.

PRO (3 assertions)


1-- Did you know that currently, in Britain, civil liberties campaigners and MPs have raised doubts about the national DNA database after the Home Office confirmed it contained more than 500,000 false or wrongly recorded names?

2-- Clarence Page stated, "Civil liberties and civil rights groups here and in the United Kingdom have objected to potential privacy invasions and the skewed racial impact. In an age when we Americans have seen lost laptops disappear with the personal information of thousands of people, I understand the concern of the Brits."




Rebuttal To: DNA database is an intrusion of privacy

Assertion: How is having someone simply give you a tiny piece of hair or brush their teeth an intrusion of privacy? How are you invading their personal space? Clearly, this point isn't valid because these actions don't even affect the person. Judge, I don't understand why my opponents are making such a big deal about just taking a small sliver of hair or taking a few seconds to take a Q-Tip and swab their cheek. Also, no one should be scared of having their DNA into the database unless they are guilty. If someone is innocent, they wouldn't mind having their DNA on the database. If they are guilty, they would say that it's an intrusion of privacy. So, when the government sees that these people are scared to have their DNA put into the database, the police can keep a closer watch on these people and look into their histories to see if they are criminals. Therefore, this suspicion would allow us to catch more criminals and lower the number of deaths in America.


Rebuttal To: A DNA database would be unconstitutional (Rights)

Assertion: This is a should topic, which means that the U.S. should establish a national DNA database for all residents because it is the right thing to do. The U.S. is in dire need of a national DNA database, as we have proven. If it is unconstitutional, then the constitution needs to be amended. A national DNA database is necessary, so instead of not having one at all, we should amend the constitution to allow a DNA database.


Rebuttal To: DNA database won't deter crimes

Assertion: Refuted by first and third point.


Rebuttal To: DNA database is unnecessary

Assertion: Refuted by third point.


Rebuttal To: DNA database is a waste of money


Assertion: This money is not being wasted because as are first point clearly states out, this will decrease crime rate drastically. In the long-run, this will save us millions of taxpayer dollars, contrary to what the opposition has stated. The long-term effects are definitely important, and due to the fact that the crime rates will drop, we will positively affect the future of America.


Rebuttal To: DNA can be planted at a crime scene


Assertion: These crime scenes are protected and enclosed by the police. Therefore, there is no way that someone can place a piece of hair or any other DNA to frame someone else.


Rebuttal To: DNA records should be only be kept for criminals


Assertion: Refuted by third point.

1. Assertion: A DNA database will allow us to identify people.

Reasoning: A DNA database is useful for solving crime cases, finding lost relatives, and medical purposes, such as kidney transplants.

Evidence: A 2006 academic study found that the overall detection rate for crimes of 23.5% rises to 38% where DNA is successfully recovered; in domestic burglary, the detection rate rises more than three times, from 14% to 48%. One estimate is that DNA-matching helps solve 400 murders a year, about 800 rapes and serious assaults and about 8,000 burglaries. US prosecutors have seen significant success in using DNA evidence to convict and deter rapists.

Impact: DNA databases indirectly protect citizens. Because a DNA database allows us to identify criminals, we can put these bad people in jail, which increases the safety of our citizens. With less criminals on the streets, more people will be protected. Also, a DNA database helps families reunite and find each other. If someone was separated from their parents, they would desperately want to find them. In this case, a DNA database would easily allow someone to find his/her relatives. Finally, a DNA database can allow someone to get a kidney transplant or any other medical service that is necessary quicker. If it is too late, the patients will die. With an easily accessible DNA database, doctors can figure out who can help these patients live.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

2. Assertion: A DNA database will allow us to trace heredity diseases.

Reasoning/Evidence: Common examples of hereditary diseases include cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's, according to the Hereditary Disease Foundation. If a child lived with foster parents, a DNA database would allows him/her to see if the parents had any diseases. Then, the child would be aware of which diseases could potentially harm him/her, so he/she can avoid anything which might help the disease worsen. For example, if an adopted girl had her DNA put into the database, she would be able to see who was related to her. If she found out that her mother had breast cancer, she would try to avoid getting breast cancer by never smoking.

Impact: People can prevent themselves from getting these illnesses, so there will be less deaths. If one knows ahead of time the chances that he/she has of getting a hereditary disease, he/she can try to prevent it from happening. A DNA database indirectly leads to less deaths.

Source: Hereditary Disease Foundation

3. Assertion: The current system, which is a DNA database for only those who are arrested, is inefficient.

Reasoning: If a person committed a crime, and was a first offender, his DNA wouldn't be on the database. Therefore, if this person committed the crime, it would be impossible to catch him/her with their DNA. This is just one example of why we need the DNA of everyone.

Evidence: According to the Department of Forensic Science, 84% of criminals are missed because the current system only shows whoever is arrested. The government needs to create a national DNA database so we can quickly and easily figure out who isn't as innocent as they seem. Some crimes have been solved by using DNA from the innocent on the database: 114 murders, 55 attempted murders, 116 rapes and 119 aggravated burglaries, according to one estimate.

Impact: This will lead to less deaths because if we have less criminals, less crimes will be committed. Clearly, the long-term effects of a national DNA database positively benefit our country.

Source: Department of Forensic Science

CON (4 assertions)


1--According to the National Policing Improvement Agency, in 2011, a national DNA database would produce 89 matches to murder, 412 to rapes and 22,284 to other crime scenes.

2--Our U.S. president, Barack Obama supports a national DNA database for all residents. He stated, “It’s the right thing to do. This is where the national registry becomes so important, because what you have is individual states — they may have a database, but if they’re not sharing it with the state next door, you’ve got a guy from Illinois driving over into Indiana, and they’re not talking to each other.â€



National DNA database -- A government database which is only accessible by the U.S. government

All residents -- All United States citizens who live in this country


Weighing Mechanism:

This debate will be weighed on which decision would cause less deaths overall.




Rebuttal To: DNA testing reduces crime

Assertion: DNA detection may not always be accurate. There is a significant portion of crimes where no DNA data has been found. Criminals can avoid leaving samples by taking a number of precautions. Although DNA detection may be useful in solving crimes, the test has its own inaccuracies. Environmental factors such as heat, sunlight, bacteria are capable of corrupting the genetic data. Criminals are getting savvier and inclined to technological advantages. They have the ability to contaminate samples by, for instance, swapping saliva. There is also room for human error in comparing saliva samples taken from suspects with those extracted from a crime scene. Even a complete DNA profile is not able to track down the time length the suspect was present at the crime scene or date.


Rebuttal To: DNA database will contribute to medical research

Assertion: Insurance companies will deny coverage to those who they can tell will get sick. They will do this so then they can make sure that they can make a profit instead of having to pay for the person's medical bills when they get sick. When the people who were denied insurance about get sick will go bankrupt and then the government will have to pay for them with their own money. Also, they were unable to bring up any evidence which supported this point


Rebuttal To: DNA database will allow people to find lost relative

Assertion: This is not the government's job to be helping people find their lost relatives. This is the individual's job. The government is already way too busy and needs to focus the time, money, and effort, on the more important parts of America as a whole, such as our education. The government does not need to help people find their relatives.


Rebuttal To: Our current criminal justice system is inefficien

Assertion: Refuted by our first point. In actuality, only 25% of crimes are committed by those not on the DNA database. This is sourced from the U.S. Department of Justice. Clearly, this is too few people for us to be changing our whole system. It is unnecessary to be wasting all of our time and money to implement a system which won't affect anything.


Rebuttal To: Hard for people with power to abuse DNA databas

Assertion: Since the government will obviously be in control of the DNA database, they will be surely granted access to information regarding every citizen in the country. Of course, there will always be citizens against the government, and now with their DNA in the government's database, the government can and will trace whatever information they need on the individual(s) to discredit their current stance against the government.

1. Assertion: It is not necessary to take the DNA samples from all residents when most crimes are committed by repeat offenders.

Reasoning: Research has shown that most crimes are committed by people who have already committed previous crimes. These recidivists can be caught through their previous sampling of their DNA. We only need to keep an accurate account of DNA of criminals, not just everyday citizens. We are wasting our precious time on taking samples of DNA from working class moms and New York business men.

Evidence: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 75% of the crimes in the US are committed by recidivists. This proves that it isn't necessary to take every citizens DNA because we already have the DNA of many criminals.

Impact: We are just wasting all of our time for no reason. This statistic clearly shows that it is completely unnecessary to waste our time trying to establish a national DNA database.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

2. Assertion: If everyone has DNA on a national database, the DNA can be duplicated and planted at a crime scene.

Reasoning: When someone recreates a persons DNA they can use it at crime scenes. This could get a person who is in fact innocent be found guilty while using DNA samples. This is a mistake that could take place with DNA sampling and a national DNA database. Also, one can simply take an innocent bystander's hair and plant it at the scene, making the innocent become the guilty. It is undoubtedly not right to be allowing these mishaps to happen. One who is innocent shouldn't end up in jail.

Evidence: Scientists at Nucleix have recreated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. These scientists also pointed out that if they could access a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of the person's DNA without using any tissue from the donor. If one can do this without even tissue, it's clear that a DNA database is not the right solution.

Impact: Innocent bystanders will be accused of the heinous crimes done by the criminals. This is unfair to those who don't even have a part in the scene. Furthermore, the U.S. needs to find a better solution which allows us to track down criminals without getting the innocent involved.

Source: Nucleix

3. Assertion: A DNA database would intrude on our constitutional right of privacy.

Reasoning: By forcing the residents of the US to take a DNA sample it will be taking away their own privacy rights. If a person doesn't want to give their precious DNA over to government hands where it could be misused, how would you make the person give a sample? Would you use police force or would you send him/her into prison? The government cannot just forcefully make a person hand over their DNA. This DNA database would be impossible to enforce, and even more impossible to maintain accurate records of everyone. It is unjust to be violating the rights of U.S. citizens.

Evidence: The 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that, The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. This basically protects our right of privacy, and intrusion of this is against our own US Constitution. By establishing a U.S. DNA database, we would be going against our US Constitution. The 4th Amendment also protects unreasonable search and seizure.†It isn't fair to grant people their rights when they become citizens but take away the rights later. It is completely illogical to do this.

Impact: Clearly, if we are forcing people to give away their DNA, it is unconstitutional. It is not right to take away their rights which were granted to them when they became U.S. citizens.

Source: U.S. Constitution

4. Assertion: Enforcing this would cost millions of taxpayer dollars, which we cannot afford to lose since we are already in debt.

Reasoning: Taking samples of every single person in the US will be time consuming and cost a lot of money. This isn't the best choice for a country already billions of dollars in debt. We should spend our well earned money on other issues that can actually benefit our nation.

Evidence: In 2004, the UK spent approximately 178 million pounds on their DNA database. This is about $281 million spent in one year to begin this. The UK also spends about 58 million pounds, $91 million, every year to maintain this. This is a crazy amount of money wasted on a DNA database. Since we are already millions of dollars in debt, this DNA database would be a complete waste of time and money. The U.S. needs to focus on our problems and spend our time an money on these problems. For example, our education needs tons of help. According to the U.S. Department of Education, American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries. Seventy percent of 8th graders can't read proficiently, and most will never catch up. Clearly, the U.S. needs to spend the time, effort, and money on other more important subjects, such as our education.

Impact: When we spend our own tax payer money on some frivolous thing such as a DNA database, we are practically throwing it in the trash. Our own generation won't be aided by this database, but we will be benefited from improving our education. We should use our hard earned cash aiding our country by spending it in our education system, which will improve our whole way of life, instead of wasting it on a database.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, The Guardian