DNA fingerprints can be fabricated

[ScienceNology] - Forensic analysis of DNA used as court evidence can be made-up , Israeli scientists have shown. A person trained in biology who has lab access can copy an innocent person’s details using “biological identity theft”.

In a paper published in the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics, the team reports on how they’ve managed to take a sample of blood taken from a woman and forge it into that of a man. They separated cells containing genetic material from the female sample before combining it with DNA taken from the male’s hair. If planted at the scene of a crime, this blood sample could potentially incriminate an innocent man.

Another approach would require access to the genetic profile of a person and access to the gene database. A trained geneticist would be able to construct fake genetic material by mixing samples with other gene characteristics. The results of this would be untraceable. The forgers wouldn’t even need access to real genetic material to make this possible.

“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”

The paper goes on to suggest a method of identifying faked DNA.

Modern forensic science relies on DNA evidence to provide court evidence which decides thousands of sentences; both convicting people of crimes and clearing them of charges. The paper casts doubt on how reliable the evidence is and will be in future trials.

“Stealing an identity is now a possibility, potentially someone could come along and collect your DNA without access to a tissue sample and make it look like your DNA using various complicated techniques,” commented Gail Javitt, from the Berman Institute of Bioethics at John Hopkins University.

“From now on in criminal procedures, they have to be careful about having a real DNA, not a faked one,” she added. “Outside the criminal context, we need clear policies that it’s “hands off our DNA” and maintain the privacy of our genetic information.”

However, skeptics point out that the majority of criminals wouldn’t have either the knowledge nor access to the required equipment to fabricate DNA evidence.

A News from RussiaToday , 19 August 2009

Categories: , ,


Post a Comment