Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why I love DNA

 I have a confession to make:  I am addicted to Investigative Discovery t.v.  I could watch hours and hours of crime shows. I love how the story unfolds and then one day, when the killer thinks he has gotten away with murder and has set up a new life/new family and has neighbors who only say great things about him in interviews, is finally revealed as  (cue orchestra music)

the killer or rapist

For those of you who watch Maury Povich, you see this same relief and surprise on the faces of the

baby daddies and the mamas who knew all along (they were 150% sure in fact) that he was the daddy. 


How is this all possible?

DNA!

The detectives hide out and wait for that cigarette to be tossed on the street

or they grab a dirty glass or straw

or they test a used (licked) envelope

or . . . . . .  . .
 
In the case of the serial killer nicknamed the “Grim Sleeper,” DNA samples he left at several crime scenes were a close partial match to Christopher Franklin, who was in a California prison on a weapons conviction. Investigators could tell that the killer had to be a close relative of Mr. Franklin and narrowed it down to his father, Lonnie Franklin Jr., after they found the father’s DNA in saliva on a discarded slice of pizza. Lonnie Franklin Jr. was charged with 10 counts of murder.

 (www.forensicnews.blogspot.com)

Isn't DNA awesome??

I feel elated when DNA results come back with . . . .(drum roll please). . .

ANSWERS! 

Except if you are a twin. . . check this out: Twins' DNA Hinders Investigation

But for the majority of us who are not twins under investigation for sexual assault, DNA provides answers.

The family may not get their loved one back, but they get some kind of closure.  They can understand -- even in horrific circumstances -- what happened to their loved one.

The father may have to pay child support, but he can then form a relationship with the child and that child will know who her father is.

The adoptee may be shocked to find out that the man listed on the birth certificate is in fact not her paternal relative but this revelation then allows her to begin seeking out her true paternal line.

Even if the adoptee later finds out her father is someone who was possibly married or otherwise not available for a long-term relationship--

Knowing the TRUTH is far better than believing a lie.

When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew mystery books.  What tween girl growing up in the 70s didn't?  I loved being surprised when Nancy wrapped up all the clues at the end of the book and solved the mystery.

I didn't recognize the irony as that tween girl growing up in the suburbs that I was living in the Witness Protection Program of adoption.

I too was a mystery to be solved.  I didn't have any clues.  I didn't have any photos. And I didn't have an attic.   All I had were my fantasies that one day, I would learn the truth about my origins. 

This is why i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE DNA.

Why?  Because DNA doesn't lie!

DNA can explain why you have the dimple in your chin and why your eyes are green

 DNA trumps records and can break through brick walls in genealogy

DNA can clear up a foggy memory of late night drunken sex with a stranger

DNA can catch a rapist and a murderer

DNA can disprove a lie that has been told so many times that people actually believe it to be fact (my favorite story about lies and cover ups in families is told here: the story of country legend Hank William Sr.'s daughter that was adopted out in order to protect Hank Williams' Jr.'s rights to the family fortune.)

 DNA is the building blocks of who we all are and it unlocks the secrets and mysteries of ourselves.

 Who knew that I never needed to go searching "out there" to find out about myself.

All I ever needed was to swab my cheek, spit into a tube and wait (and wait, and wait, and wait   . . .)

to be continued . . . . .





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