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The Findings of the Seminar on
Genetic Fingerprint
Kuwait 3-4 May 2000

In the Name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Praise is due to God, the Lord of all worlds without whose blessings no good deed may be perfected. Peace be upon Muhammad, God's servant and Messenger whom He has exalted above all His creatures in all generations, the final of God's prophets and messengers, and upon his household and companions.

During its eleventh symposium, held in Kuwait on 23 Jummada Al Akhira 1419 A.H. Corresponding to October 13, 1998 AD, on Genetics, Genetic Engineering, Human Genome and Genetic Treatment, The Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences studied the question of the Genetic Fingerprint and decided to devote a seminar for an in-depth study of this issue. The proposed seminar should examine all different aspects of the Genetic Fingerprint and what bearing it may have on disputes over filial relations and how valid it is in establishing parentage.

By the grace of God, the Islamic Organization for Medical Sciences convened a 2-day seminar on 28-29 Muharram, 1421 A.H. corresponding to 3-4 May, 2000 AD at the Meridian Hotel in Kuwait. The seminar was attended by a host of eminent Islamic scholars, a number of physicians and scientists specialized in genetics.

The participants paid a visit to the Centre of Genetics in the Sabah Medical Area, Kuwait, where they listened to a comprehensive presentation on the Genetic Fingerprint, watched the testing techniques utilized to establish confirmed results and satisfied themselves on the high accuracy of this type of investigation.

In their ensuing discussions, the participants focused on the following aspects:

1. Resorting to the Genetic Fingerprint as a method of proof in the case of a dispute between two persons, each claiming to be the parent of someone with unknown parentage.

2. Approving the Genetic Fingerprint as valid evidence in the case of a father who disclaims the fatherhood of a child with unknown parentage after having acknowledged it, or in a case where the children of such a father making such a disclaim after his death.

3. In a case where some siblings confirm and other deny the brotherhood and entitlement to inheritance of a person with unknown parentage, the Genetic Fingerprint may be taken as a valid proof of parentage.

4. In a case where a woman claims that she is the mother of a certain person without being able to provide evidence of having delivered that person, the Genetic Fingerprint may be taken as a valid proof of parentage.

After a Qur'anic recitation, Dr. Sa'aduddeen Al Hilali presented a paper on the subject matter of all four issues, going into considerable details. He made a detailed explanation of the Islamic rules relating to lineage before explaining his views on proofs and evidence that may be derived from the Genetic Fingerprint in each of the situations under discussion.

This was followed by a discussion of the rules and provisions as outlined by different schools and Islamic scholars. Experts from the Centre of Genetics further explained the methods they use in obtaining and confirming the Genetic Fingerprint. These extensive discussions arrived at the following conclusions:

1. Each individual has a unique and special pattern of genetic structure reflected in each cell in his or her body. This unique pattern is not shared with any other human being at any time. This is known as the 'Genetic Fingerprint.' Scientifically speaking, the Genetic Fingerprint is a categorical proof of biological parentage and identity, particularly for the purposes of forensic medicine. It ranks at the same level as strong legal presumptions which Islamic scholars take into account in cases other than those related to offenses that carry mandatory punishments, or huddod. The Genetic Fingerprint also represents a great advance on tracing a person's ancestry through features and resemblance, or qiyafah. This is approved by the majority of Islamic scholars in proving lineage where there is a dispute. Hence, the seminar concludes that the Genetic Fingerprint has a better claim to be considered as valid evidence, ahead of qiyafah.

2. The participants feel hat the Genetic Fingerprint should be accepted as a proof or evidence in cases of dispute over the parentage of a person with unknown parentage, should other evidence be lacking or of equal validity.

3. The acknowledgment of parentage of someone with unknown lineage is an indisputable right of a person, provided that it meets the conditions established in this regard. Consequently, it is not open to the acknowledging parent to go back on his claim and deny parentage. No denial of the acknowledged person's lineage by any one of the acknowledging parent's children is admissible. Nor is there any validity for the Genetic Fingerprint in denying such lineage.

4. In a case where only some sibling acknowledging the brotherhood of a person with unknown parentage, such acknowledgment is not binding on the rest of siblings and does not constitute an absolute evidence of lineage. Moreover, such acknowledgment affects only the acknowledging siblings in respect of their shares of inheritance. The Genetic Fingerprint may not be taken as valid evidence in such cases.

5. Concerning the evidence to prove the motherhood of a woman of a certain child, this issue took to long discussion, due to that the IOMS decide to postpone it for more study.

6. The Genetic Fingerprint is not considered valid evidence of 'marital bed.' Marriage is proven only according to established Islamic rules.

7. The participants agree that it is necessary for the following conditions to be met in any analysis of the Genetic Fingerprint:

a) The analysis should be carried out only by permission of the judge concerned;

b) The analysis should be conducted two time atleast in more than one accredited laboratory. Necessary precautions should be provided to make sure that none of the laboratories that conduct the analysis is aware of the result obtained by another laboratory.

c) It is preferable that these laboratories should belong to the government of the country. If this is not possible, then resort may be made to private laboratories, provided that these laboratories meet the universally recognized conditions and standards of excellence in this field.

d) The personnel who work in the laboratories that conduct the Genetic Fingerprint analyses should be of the highest standards of integrity and professional reliability. None of these personnel should be a relative, a friend, an enemy of any party of the dispute, or has any interest with any party. None of them should have been convicted of any moral or ethical offense.