Personal characteristics in DNA forensics: the right not to know and other choices in legislation

Project: Research project

Project Details


In May 2003, a law was passed in the Netherlands allowing the use of DNA material found at a crime scene to trace an unknown suspect through deriving externally visible personal characteristics from the DNA, such as race and gender. The Dutch act is based on a number of fundamental choices: it is restricted to external characteristics, it excludes investigation of genetic information about hereditary diseases or complaints, or behavior, and characteristics have to be exhaustively specified in or through statutory law.

The research aims at providing an international inventory of comparable (proposed) legislation or regulation in other countries and to evaluate the Dutch law in this comparative perspective. The main question is whether choices have been made or are being made abroad on these issues. The research will include an analysis of how other countries deal with genetic information as to hereditary diseases in relation to the suspects right not to know and what arguments play a role therein.
Effective start/end date1/04/041/04/06


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