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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

The Admissibility of DNA Evidence

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Photo of a chemist studying DNA evidence samples in a lab
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Depending on the jurisdiction, the admissibility of DNA may be challenged if a new DNA technology or a novel use of existing DNA typing is involved (Frye) or if a question is raised regarding the reliability or validity of the testing (Daubert).   When confronted with a demand for a hearing, the prosecutor should first determine the scientific issues upon which the challenge is based and contact the DNA analyst who performed the testing to discuss these issues. The DNA analyst's opinion on the validity of the issues raised is essential to resolving the challenge appropriately.

When confronted with a Frye or Daubert challenge, a prosecutor is encouraged to review the basis of the motion with a supervisor prior to responding.

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