Justice

The DNA Revolution in the Courts

While investigating the murder of a 36-year-old woman, detectives found four cigarette butts. DNA analysis shows that cigarettes 1, 2, and 3 were smoked by the victim. The box around the Amelogenin marker shows that cigarette 4 was smoked by a man. However, the identity profile of the DNA extracted from cigarette 4 does not match that of the original suspect (shown here). Months later the profile of the DNA on cigarette 4 was shown to match that of another suspect. Thus, this DNA evidence was used both to exclude an innocent suspect and to support the prosecution of the perpetrator. (Courtesy of Cecelia A. Crouse, PhD., Supervisor, Serology/DNA Section, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Crime Laboratory, West Palm Beach, Florida.)

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