Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Fallibility of DNA Evidence

A New York Time article today highlights proof by Israeli researchers that DNA evidence may not be such a sure thing, after all:

The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

“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.

Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the ACLU adds:
“DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,” she said. “We’re creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.”

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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