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President Donald Trump's administration launched a pilot program on Monday that would allow the government to collect DNA from people held in immigration custody. That DNA would then be sent to a criminal database within the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents, asylum seekers, and those apprehended at the border would all be subject to sampling and refusal would be grounds for a misdemeanor charge. Children as young as 14 would be subject to DNA collection.

The administration cites the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005, which allows for DNA collection from anyone "arrested or detained" by the U.S. government. That Republican-sponsored bill removed provisions from the DNA Identification Act of 1994 that protected those not charged with a crime from mandatory DNA testing.

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Unless you have an identical twin, your DNA sequencing is completely unique. However, despite this uniqueness, your genetic privacy may still be at risk.

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Scientists say they may have completed yet another piece of the puzzle that could lead to same-sex partners someday being able to bear genetic offspring.

However, it’s only been attempted in mice, and experts say there’s a long way to go before it could even be considered for humans.

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(National Archives and NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, the DNA test of a sitting United States Senator made front page news of a major newspaper. Why and how did this happen? It was a response to a series of lies and slurs from President Donald Trump.

During his rallies, President Trump likes to play to his supporters by attacking his political rivals, especially those he thinks might challenge him for the presidency in 2020. His attacks often involve the same name calling he employs in his Twitter feed.

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Cancer can develop in a variety of different organs, with each type of cancer presenting different signatures detectable via individual specialized methods. Cancer researchers have long sought to discover a way to detect multiple forms of cancer (over 100 in all) with a single test. Recently, scientists at a Silicon Valley healthcare company called GRAIL have succeeded in such a breakthrough, producing a blood test that can recognize 10 unique types of cancer with varying degrees of certainty.

In general, cancer is a unique disease in that a person’s immune system cannot recognize the key players, which are a person’s own cells turned against them. Since the immune system is designed to distinguish between “self” and “non-self,” cancer cells frequently slip through. Thus, scientists have expended significant time and resources to identify markers on cancer cells that are distinctive relative to normal healthy cells, which would aid in the detection of cancer.

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SNRE Lab: Molecular DNA.

It is difficult to find someone who has not heard of “Ancestry.com” or “23andme" that offer to sequence parts of a person’s genome. These services offer to search your genetic profile for information about your family’s ethnic origins or the presence of certain factors that will increase your probability of being susceptible to certain diseases in your lifetime. It is doubtful that people who have purchased these products would have considered that their depositions of DNA in these databases has helped to capture criminals responsible for cold case murders dating back decades, but this is precisely what has recently occurred.

To fully comprehend the significance of these recent developments in crime fighting and their inherent privacy concerns, one has to be familiar with the meaning behind certain terms like: genome, genetic material, genealogy, and DNA. DNA is the abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the molecule inside of everyone that encodes the genetic information unique to each individual. A person’s genome is the term ascribed to all the genetic information that is found inside of each of their cells.

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Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks’ story is only recently coming to public knowledge, which, given that her cells have benefited countless human lives and changed the course of modern medicine, is astounding. It is a wonder greater humanity did not know of her sooner, but her cellular capacities have been known within the scientific community for decades — and this is the major point of contention within her story.

The great-great-granddaughter of a slave, Lacks was born a person of little means. Her mother died when Lacks was a child, and her father abandoned her at her grandfather’s log cabin. She married a cousin with whom she grew up, and together they had five children, one of whom was developmentally impaired. She raised their first two children while her husband served the 1940s war effort as a Bethlehem steelworker; the other three followed upon his return after the war ended.

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