Over the years, many different advances in technology have made the use of DNA in forensic science possible. In the past twenty years specifically, there have been many extraordinary discoveries in the fields of science that have led to the advancement of procedures in forensics. Before DNA testing, the most accurate way of identifying people was to match the blood types of suspects with blood found at the scene of the crime. Considering the lack of variability of this procedure, it is no surprise just how important the use of DNA in forensics has become. The evolution of applying DNA testing to forensics can be traced by looking at Polymerase Chain Reactions, DNA Fingerprinting and the Innocence Project.
For instance, the history behind how DNA became a reliable tool in forensics goes all the way back to when DNA was first discovered. In the year 1869, a German chemist named Friedrich Miescher first discovered DNA, which he called nucleic acid (Johnson, 2013). However, it wasn’t until 1953 that biologists were finally convinced by Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase of DNA’s importance as the genetic material in organisms (2013). One year later, James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the structure of the DNA molecule. They proposed that it is a double helix with complementary nucleotide sequences (2013). Nonetheless, the most critical development in working towards using DNA in forensics was when Kary Mullis created the Polymerase Chain Reaction in 1983 (2013).
Furthermore, the Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, was the breaking point for using DNA in forensic science. PCR is a process that allows extremely small samples of DNA to become useful. This is done by taking a double stranded DNA fragment and making it into two single stranded fragments. These two single stranded fragments are then copied, which creates two double stranded DNA fragments. This procedure is then repeated until there is enough DNA for analysis (2013). “PCR is so powerful that a single...
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Dale, Mark. Greenspan, Owen and Orokos, Donald. DNA Forensics: Expanding Uses and Information Sharing. California: National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, 2006. Web. 01 Nov. 2013
Johnson, George B. Selected Chapters from Essentials of The Living World. Fourth ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2013. Print.
"PCR Introduction." NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 Oct. 2009. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.
"The Innocence Project - Know the Cases: Browse Profiles:Joseph Abbitt." The Innocence Project - Know the Cases: Browse Profiles:Joseph Abbitt. Affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013.
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