DNA evidence can make or break a case, and the technologies used to gather and analyze it are continually evolving. Refining DNA testing techniques – and understanding why they need refining in the first place – will help deliver the real criminals to prison while the innocent walk free.
Recent DNA Advances
As your high school biology teacher might have taught you, a genome basically refers to all of an organism’s DNA. Stanford University geneticists are among the researchers who have noted that one human body contains multiple genomes.
Get this: A non-profit biomedical research organization called Scripps National Research Institute has made history by making it possible for living things to survive with the addition of artificial DNA. This artificial DNA can even replicate, with later versions of the cells adapting to their environment a lot like a real organic compound would.
Not only has our knowledge of DNA expanded, but DNA testing technology has also become faster and more accurate. RapidHIT kits can process and sequence DNA in under 90 minutes, entirely within industry and federal guidelines. It’s important to note that home DNA testing kits, including 23andME are actually discouraged by the FDA.
Impact on DNA Evidence
Every shift in humanity’s comprehension of DNA inevitably leads to shifts in forensic science and criminology. RapidHIT has already been deployed by police in Richland County, S.C. who used it to track down a man who attempted murder.
The FBI has also used it, as well as other quick-response typing tools, in their investigations. However, as with the slower DNA evidence processes, there is absolutely a risk of finding biological links in innocent situations. It takes judicious application of these tools and a willingness to double- or triple-check to make sure the guilty get charged and the not-guilty are not accused.
As you can probably imagine, the double genome poses quite a problem when it comes to tracking down criminals. Guilty parties may walk free because samples taken from one part of the body do not match up with those left at the scene, which is bad news for the innocent who might wind up taking the fall.
There are already methods in place for “mismatched” DNA as a result of chimerism (“fused” or shared DNA between twin eggs or embryos) or mosaicism (some cells within one person, such as blood, have different genetic makeups). However, more diligent protocols are necessary to make sure the results turn out accurate in all situations. Working with an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist trained in how DNA tests and other evidence analysis technologies operate will help you better understand what you may be up against in court.
DNA and Your Case
As an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist, Mark Thiessen is skilled in understanding how to gather, process and analyze forensic evidence and applying the results to the courtroom. He’s the man you want on your side when DNA comes into play. Schedule a consultation.