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Modern Methods of DNA Interpretation

NCJ Number
Chance Volume: 29 Issue: 1 Dated: 26 Pages: 17
Date Published
10 pages

This article reviews the history of how DNA has been interpreted and applied in forensic contexts.


Fourteen months after Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys discovered “genetic fingerprinting,” he joined with Peter Gill and David Werrett of the United Kingdom’s Forensic Science Service in publishing a paper that detailed the forensic application of DNA fingerprinting. About 18 months after that, DNA fingerprinting was used to link two rape/murder cases and achieve the conviction of Colin Pitchfork. DNA evidence and the techniques used to recover, type, and interpret it have advanced considerably. Sensitivity has improved, and modern equipment has provided efficiency. Unlike many other evidence types, statistical interpretation for DNA evidence has been present since its inception. There have been debates in the literature about methods of interpretation and statistical interpretation was at the forefront of criminal cases, notably the O.J. Simpson trial. This article features a discussion of current and envisioned modern methods of DNA interpretation.

Date Published: January 1, 2016