Fabricated DNA evidence.

Today’s New York Times has an article about fabricating DNA evidence in a laboratory.  Unlike naturally-occurring DNA that could merely be planted at a crime scene, fabricated DNA would not require access to an original, physical specimen of a particular person’s DNA, so long as one had access to his DNA database profile.  An excerpt from the NYT: 

Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

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.”

Like other commentators, I’m not convinced that your average servicemember would have the werewithal to create and then successfully plant DNA at a crime scene.  Perhaps all this is will be another fascinating and forensically interesting Patricia Cornwell book.  As my favorite Inspector Wilcox would say, “I’m not sanguine, not sanguine at all.”

/tip CrimProfBlog.

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