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posted by janrinok on Saturday July 18 2015, @06:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the Doctor-Evil-and-Mini-Me-just-laughed dept.

A simple, lower-cost new method for DNA profiling of human hairs developed by the University of Adelaide should improve opportunities to link criminals to serious crimes.

The researchers have modified existing laboratory methods and been able to produce accurate DNA profiles from trace amounts at a much higher success rate.

"Technological advancements over the last 10 years have allowed police and forensic scientists to profile crime-scene DNA from ever smaller and more challenging samples collected from fingerprints, skin cells, saliva and hairs," says Associate Professor Jeremy Austin, Deputy Director with the University's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.

"DNA profiling of human hairs is critical to solving many serious crimes but most hairs found at crime scenes contain very little DNA because it has been severely dehydrated as part of the hair growth process. This makes DNA testing of hairs a real challenge."

[...] Lead-author Assistant Professor Dennis McNevin, from the University of Canberra, says: "Our simple modifications will allow this trace DNA to be analysed in a standard forensic laboratory with improved success rates of DNA profiling and without increased error rates.

"This is very important in forensic science as false positive results can lead to incorrect identifications and poor outcomes in the judicial system."

 
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  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday July 19 2015, @07:16AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday July 19 2015, @07:16AM (#210980) Journal

    Because those errors tend to fuck over innocent people

    Yes.

    and/or let guilty people to free.

    I strongly doubt that. That they haven't found your hair at that place isn't a proof that you weren't there, after all.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
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  • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Sunday July 19 2015, @07:31AM

    by davester666 (155) on Sunday July 19 2015, @07:31AM (#210983)

    > I strongly doubt that. That they haven't found your hair at that place isn't a proof that you weren't there, after all.

    It does establish that someone else was there. And obviously, the unknown person is the one who did it. And you don't know why the cops aren't out looking for them, when they don't have proof you were even there...

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Sunday July 19 2015, @08:24AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday July 19 2015, @08:24AM (#210988) Journal

      If they don't have any reason to suspect that you might have been involved, then how on earth did they justify to get your DNA in order to compare it with the DNA extracted from the hair?

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Sunday July 19 2015, @06:25PM

        by davester666 (155) on Sunday July 19 2015, @06:25PM (#211144)

        You live in the area, you were 'seen' in the area, you were previously convicted of something, or it's one of those cold cases "we need to get the DNA of everyone in this town, it's voluntary, but if you refuse, we assume you are guilty and have your name and address published in the local paper"

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20 2015, @02:14PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20 2015, @02:14PM (#211427)

          All situations where without hair analysis you would not have caught the guilty anyway, and therefore the error in the hair analysis didn't cause someone who would otherwise been found guilty to go free. So no "guilty gets free because of erroneous hair analysis" but only "hair analysis didn't help either because of it being erroneous." BIG difference.