Why We Can't Always Trust DNA Evidence
DNA fingerprinting has improved throughout the years. But, contrary to popular TV shows, it isn't as accurate as one might believe.
In recent years, law experts have noticed that jurors in criminal trials are prone to the "CSI Effect" -- an assumption that any DNA evidence presented in a case is ironclad and conclusive. Not so. While the technology of DNA fingerprinting has genuinely revolutionized forensic investigation, it's prone to many of the same hazards that compromise other kinds of courtroom evidence.
In today's DNews report, Trace Dominguez does some sleuthing of his own, tracking down cases where DNA evidence has been tainted by misinterpretation or even outright fraud. It turns out that the process of gathering DNA is a surprisingly difficult and messy process, and genetic samples are vulnerable to the same chain-of-custody hazards as any other kind of evidence. Court is now in session.
Lemelson-MIT: Sir Alec John Jeffreys - Genetic Fingerprints