Forensic DNA Evidence
DNA has become one of the most accurate tools used in law enforcement in determining guilt or innocence. DNA is different in all people it is our “genetic blueprint.” DNA is so significant to law enforcement because DNA left at a crime scene can be collected and tested to see if there is a match. It is unique because it ensures accuracy and fairness. The initial use of DNA began in Britain in 1986; the FBI used it for the first time in the United States two years later. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid; it is the genetic material that carries a unique code in all living cells, DNA is different in all people, except identical twins. A persons DNA is the same in every cell throughout the body, for example, the DNA found in a persons blood will be the same DNA found in semen, fingernails, or saliva. Because everyone’s DNA is unique it makes it a powerful tool in linking a suspect to a crime or eliminating a suspect. DNA testing can also determine if the DNA is wildlife. DNA can be found in blood, semen, teeth, hair, saliva, fingernails, urine, feces, skin cells, and can be found anywhere in the body. The process of DNA testing begins when a forensic technician gathers blood, saliva, hair, or semen or any other DNA evidence from a crime scene. DNA has also been extracted from sweat, skin cells, eyeglasses, and used envelope seals. Blood and sperm cells are rich in DNA which makes it very useful in murder and rape cases. The chain of custody is used when collecting evidence; it is a record of individuals who have handled the evidence. Every person who has had physical possession of the evidence, documents everything that happened with the evidence while in their custody. The fewer people in the chain of custody the better, because it reduces the risk of the evidence becoming contaminated. Once the DNA has been collected law enforcement can test a suspect’s DNA to the DNA left at the crime scene to determine whether the...
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