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DNA Tests Could Have Solved More Crimes


There’s no doubt that discoveries in DNA analysis and DNA tests have transformed how crime can be solved. DNA tests can connect a suspect to a crime scene and help detectives come to a fast conclusion, but it’s not always so straightforward.

The Science of Crime

As well as convicting culprits, such tests have also been used to clear innocent men and women. In America, some criminals who have served over 20 years in prison or even faced death row for a crime they didn’t commit have now been cleared thanks to new DNA forensic tests proving their innocence.

DNA Samples left Undiscovered

It’s thought around 10 percent of crime scenes contain biological evidence that can be used for testing. The widespread use of DNA tests in forensics has changed how crime is tackled. But according to a report in The Times newspaper, it’s thought that up to 2,000 cases of violent crime in the UK could have been solved if DNA evidence had been discovered – the resulting genetic tests could have convicted dangerous criminals.

Investigation Into Missed DNA Tests

An investigation is being undertaken across the UK to look into cases where it was expected that the scientists would find DNA evidence at the crime scene – but failed. The investigation covers serious crimes between 2000 and 2005. It was launched after detectives found clues in DNA that was previously overlooked during the re-investigation into the murder of Rachel Nickell. Using different DNA technology, a new forensic agency undertook DNA tests on the same evidence from the original investigation. But they found vital information – the new findings were brought forward and the result of their tests led to a suspect being charged for Nickell’s murder.

New Genetic Tests Need Investigation

Concerns have been raised over high profile crime cases such as that of Damilola Taylor, the 10-year-old who was stabbed in south London. Traces of blood that could have been used in DNA analysis were missed during the initial investigation, but found after re-investigation four years later. It’s thought that maybe 2,000 violent crimes could have been solved through DNA tests were it not for the fact that vital DNA evidence had been missed.

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