DNA could be faked by criminals [or police], new study claims

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by edesignuk, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #1
    Telegraph.

    So what now? DNA has become so heavily relied and trusted upon, the fact that it can be manipulated and faked seems to render it useless as an absolute guarantee of proof.
     
  2. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    Uh oh. That really is bad news. As the article pointed out, I can't imagine it's all that common or easy of a thing to do but it just being possible is a very bad thing indeed.

    I also suspect this could wind up in the PRSI with capital punishment arguments.
     
  3. edesignuk thread starter Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #3
    Exactly, just being possible is the problem, especially along with this bit - "Any biology undergraduate could perform this.".
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    It's not like the way they use DNA evidence now is infalible. The chances of two people having the same 13-loci STR profiles are about 1 in 1 billion. So if it matches you there are likely to be at least 5 other people that it matches too. Yes somehow this is all swept under the carpet and everyone says if it matches it's definitely you "beyond reasonable doubt". Personally I think you or any one of 5 other people is reasonbable doubt.
     
  5. remmy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    #5
    also in the UK for keeping a DNA database of everyone arrested or volunteered.
     
  6. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #6
    Although it raises a doubt, I don't think it is a reasonable doubt. If the burden of proof is "beyond a shadow of a doubt" then this might be a defense, but what are the chances that all six people that can match live in the same country, let alone the same city? And even if all six are in the same city, would they all have the motive, opportunity and lack of alibi that would lead them to be a suspect in the first place? Taken together, this takes you beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
  7. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #7
    Whilst I have not actually looked at the science I would have thought quite high. Your genetic sequence should be closest to those you are related to. So, it would seem to me, that the chances are that someone else in your own family (say) would be more likely to match the same profiles that you do rather than someone at random.

    Now, of course, genetic evidence tends to be used in conjunction with other evidence so removing some of the doubt, but it still makes me very worried that the general public view genetic evidence as absolute when it is anything but.
     
  8. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Lexington, MA, USA
    #8
    Anyone cold enough to let one of their own relatives go to jail for them deserves it when the rest of the family turns on them and testifies that they were the one who is guilty.

    Eventually this kind of DNA evidence will be used in a case against someone rich enough and high-profile enough that a good defense lawyer will be able to effectively explain why this evidence is not foolproof in a way that people will remember going forward. Then news media will report this "shocking new revelation that DNA evidence isn't perfect". Oh wait, wasn't there DNA evidence in the OJ Simpson case? I guess the "if the glove don't fit, you must acquit" defense outshone any coverage of the defense's explanation of how DNA evidence isn't foolproof enough that no news outlets bothered to cover that.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #9
    That is beyond reasonable doubt. Far beyond reasonable.
     
  10. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #10
    I might be wrong here... well.. I don't claim to be right :)

    but... as part of DNA evidence they can rely on strands of hair etc right? So to engineer a crime scene you would in theory only need to obtain some property of another person (hair brush) to be able to "place" them at the scene even though they were never there.

    Obviously the other person may have an alibi but if your DNA shows up then it makes it hard for you to explain how it got there if you were supposed to be elsewhere.
     
  11. Moof1904 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #11
    The big flaw in DNA evidence is that most people believe it's infallible. From the cases of corruption in forensic labs to the ability for one to very easily plant DNA evidence at a scene, it's only a matter of time I believe before we start seeing as many people wrongly convicted because of DNA as we're now seeing people freed because of it.

    As with most any technology, it's neither good nor bad, rather it's the manner in which it's used or abused that's more relevant.
     
  12. almabanuelos macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    #12
    They could probably mess around with DNA even after death - in most cases bodies are exhumed to test for further DNA evidence. Criminal elements could get to them before this, and plant someone else's DNA ..
     
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #13
    Doesn't this also go the other way now too. If someone who has been sitting in jail and his blood is now tested....... Maybe we should start looking at those too. So now those who are getting let out of prison should also be looked at, can't have it both ways.

    I could see this as a problem if all the evidence is bodily fluid. IE Blood, seman, vaginal secretion, mucas etc. But what about hair and skin cells combined with the fluids?
     
  14. niuniu macrumors 68020

    niuniu

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    A man of the people. The right sort of people.
    #14
    This is something our generation will most likely not have to contend with, but perhaps generations after we're all dead will see more advanced criminal frames abusing forensics.

    Or who knows, maybe it's going on already.
     
  15. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    #15
    How is that different than leaving behind a soiled tissue, a piece of hair or some other item with a little drop of blood in the crime scene to implicate somebody else?
     

Share This Page