Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Create your own ...DNA

The public has an exaggerated view of the accuracy of DNA testing. Politicians and police add to this false impression by implying that, if only all our DNA profiles were on a single database, then no murderer or rapist would ever escape justice. This is far from the case.

A partial DNA profile is usually found at a crime scene and when this is compared to a individual's full profile there may be a match but it could easily be a false match. The more profiles there are on the database the greater the possibility of false matches. Also, naturally, if your DNA is not on the database you cannot be falsely accused of a crime.

Between 2001 and 2006, over 50,000 matches with crime scene profiles, namely 27% of the total, involved a list of potential suspects being given to the police, rather than one single suspect, because matches with multiple records were made.

In addition to this we now find that DNA can allegedly be created artificially.

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence. This artificial DNA could then be applied to surfaces of objects or incorporated into genuine human tissues and planted in crime scenes. They show that the current forensic procedure fails to distinguish between such samples of blood, saliva, and touched surfaces with artificial DNA, and corresponding samples with natural DNA. See here.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

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