One of the more intriguing segments of advanced biometrics is DNA analysis. There has been a lot of discussion around what role DNA will play in an expanding field of biometrics. Some are rather eclectic applications, while others are more practical.
DNA sequencing is the process of reading nucleotide bases in a DNA molecule. It is used to unlock the genome. Sequencing DNA involves analyzing and determining the order of the “bases,” the four chemical building blocks known to make up the DNA molecule. The sequence contains genetic data that is carried in a particular DNA segment, and can reveal a plethora of information to the trained scientist.
In the DNA double helix, these four chemical bases will always bond with the same partner to form what are called the base pairs. The chemical Adenine (A) will always bond, or pair with thymine (T). Likewise, cytosine (C) will always pair with guanine (G).
The human genome contains about 3 billion base pairs, which map out the instructions for creating and maintaining the human presence. Sequencing can reveal information for determining the stretches of DNA that contain genes and what they carry. Of tantamount importance is the ability to see what changes go on in the genes.
This can be extremely useful for everything from finding signs of disease to security. On the security side, there is work being done on predicting unusual patterns, or even footprints that can suggest instability in psychological makeup that predetermine aggressive behavior, leaning toward potential criminal behavior. In fact, there is an entire discipline, called biosocial criminology, which deals with that aspect.
Much of this is still in the investigation or experimental stages, meaning solid evidence is scarce, but as computing power reaches quantum proportions and Big Data becomes more mainstream, the library of knowledge is growing. One of the touted benefits of Big Data is not just more data, but using Big Data metrics to provide much more accurate and predictable results. Coupled with massive computing capabilities, what took days or even weeks not long ago, now takes hours. Big Data promises to attain real, reliable data that can unequivocally be used to predict behavior.
Rapid DNA sequencing is the latest development in this area.