Genetic Testimony: A Guide to Forensic DNA Profiling (Booklet)

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9780131423381: Genetic Testimony: A Guide to Forensic DNA Profiling (Booklet)

The book explains the subject of modern DNA profiling in straightforward language, and is aimed at readers with little background in science or biotechnology. A valuable resource for people needing to be informed about the methods, uses, and shortcomings of DNA profiling, it introduces basic concepts of genetics and biotechnology in the context of one of the most important developments in modern criminal investigation. This book raises controversial questions about the uses and potential misuses of DNA forensics; and illustrates issues by presenting recent criminal cases involving DNA profiling. A useful reference for law offices, legal clinics, law enforcement, defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and the media, as it provides basic explanations of the science of, and issues surrounding, DNA forensics.

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From the Back Cover:

In the last decade, forensic DNA profiling has emerged as a powerful method to identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. What makes it such a powerful technique? How does DNA profiling work? What are the advantages and drawbacks to the technology, and how is DNA profiling changing the way the criminal justice system functions? This guide answers these questions by outlining the basic methods used in forensic DNA profiling and explaining how DNA evidence has the power to convict or exonerate. Extraordinary stories illustrate how this new technology is expanding and transforming criminal justice systems across the globe.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Modern forensic DNA profiling is rapidly changing all facets of the criminal justice system. The extreme sensitivity and high levels of discrimination inherent in these methods now make it possible to identify a person who dropped a bloodspot the size of a pinhead or who licked the back of a postage stamp. Crime scene samples that are decades old or ravaged by fire and decay are now yielding profiles that answer questions about identity or guilt.

Forensic DNA profiling names suspects, exonerates the innocent, and identifies the remains of disaster victims. It also challenges traditional forensic methods and pinpoints weaknesses in police techniques and the criminal justice system. As police and governments expand the uses of DNA profiling and compile DNA databanks, questions arise about who should be profiled and how DNA databanks should be regulated.

Over the next decade, it will be increasingly important for all of us to understand the workings of these technologies, why they hold such power, and what shortcomings exist.

In this guide, we explain how current DNA profiling methods work. We also answer questions about the uses of this new technology and how forensic DNA profiling is changing both criminal investigations and the criminal justice system.

The information presented is as current and accurate as possible, and it is derived from scientific literature, the media, and government sources. Because forensic DNA profiling methods are changing rapidly, readers are encouraged to refer to the publication and Internet sources listed in the References and Resources section for the latest developments.

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