Letters to the Editor

Fast Focus 'Should the government collect DNA samples?' Much like a fingerprint

The issue is somewhat more complicated, in my view. This is a privacy matter, at least. So, when does one obtain the right of privacy? At birth? At age 18? When? So, when does one lose the right? Seems to me it is like fingerprinting. Get detained/arrested and expect to be fingerprinted. I'd say taking DNA fits there as well.

When one is arrested, certain privacy elements are temporarily forfeited lawfully under the American system, including Washington state. Fingerprints have been archived for many years; why not DNA?

Oh I know there are those who can envision illegal usage of such documentation, but there are many, many others. As a former coroner I know of some situations where identification of human remains would have been much faster. And I have a feeling that medical science and treatment options will evolve from the knowledge of a person's DNA under study. Certainly it will help in establishing paternity in contested cases, and in assisting adopted persons in locating parents, etc.

I read where, through the study of DNA, certain inherited ancestral genes may be identified to possibly determine the cause of some personal problems.

I favor governmental retention of lawfully obtained DNA after a lawful arrest. And would hope that a legislative program be adopted whereby private person swould voluntarily be able to store personal DNA and have that identified as to location in a person's Last Will or other dispositive or health care document.

I am aware there will be those who disagree -- so be it. This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled no one may patent a human gene; this is similar to saying a person's DNA cannot be protected as well.

-- JIM RABIDEAU, Pasco

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