DNA EVIDENCE CAN BE FAKED — REALLY!
Leave it to the Israelis. August 18, in The New York Times, “DNA Evidence Can be Fabricated, Scientists Show,” Andrew Pollack reports on scientists who have shown DNA fabrication to be possible. Does this mean that the gold standard of proof in criminal cases is now in question?
According to Pollack, “The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.
“You can just engineer a crime scene,” said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. “Any biology undergraduate could perform this.”
Frumkin’s interest is that he is the founder of a company in Tel Aviv, Nucleix, that has a test that can help forensic labs tell real DNA samples from fake ones.
An invasion of personal privacy is mentioned as well. For example, … ” ‘it may be possible to scavenge anyone’s DNA from a discarded drinking cup or cigarette butt and turn it into a saliva sample that could be submitted to a genetic testing company that measures ancestry or the risk of getting various diseases. Celebrities might have to fear “genetic paparazzi,’ said Gail H. Javitt of the Genetics and Public Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University.”
John M. Butler, leader of the human identity testing project at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said he was “impressed at how well they were able to fabricate the fake DNA profiles.” However, he added, “I think your average criminal wouldn’t be able to do something like that.”
To learn more about how the testing works, click here to read the article in it’s entirety.