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DNA Evidence in SC

DNA Evidence in SC

DNA evidence is essential to criminal investigations. For years, law enforcement officers have relied on DNA evidence to catch serial killers, kidnappers, and thieves, but when was DNA evidence discovered and how does it affect a criminal case?

DNA: A Definition

DNA is an acronym for Deoxyribonucleic acid and it carries genetic information in the cells. DNA is foundational to our very beings in that all of our traits like eye color and hair texture are found here. Scientifically speaking, DNA is a double helix molecule that contains base pairs in various combinations.

These base pairs include:

  • Adenine
  • Thymine
  • Guanine
  • Cytosine

These pairs are joined together in a staircase with sugar-phosphates. DNA is remarkable in that it replicates itself and based on the replication, the gathering of DNA molecules creates a new person. DNA is found throughout the body but specifically skin, hair, blood, and saliva.

By studying DNA, scientists have discovered the root causes of genetic diseases and can have a deeper understanding of the human genome. Genes were originally discovered b Rosalind Elsie Franklin, Francis Crick and James Watson. The three scientists discovered different parts of the genome but together, their findings have revolutionized scientific development.

History in Criminal Investigations

DNA was first used as an evidence type in 1986 when British genetics professor Alec Jeffreys was consulted about an unsolved murder. By using the DNA evidence, police were able to find the suspect and prove that he was at the scene of the crime.

Now, DNA samples are essential to almost every criminal investigation. The development of DNA databases have helped police collect millions of samples to compare and consult when a crime occurs.

Modern Investigation

As mentioned previously, DNA is the cornerstone to nearly every criminal investigation, especially violent crime. Most notably, the O.J. Simpson trial centered around DNA evidence. The prosecution had collected samples at the scene along with bloody gloves and other items. Scientists were able to trace the DNA to Simpson, but because the evidence was stored incorrectly, it was no longer usable.

While DNA evidence is a critical investigative tool, it is also a double edged sword. If the evidence is not stored correctly, it could decay over time. DNA is biological material which is vulnerable to the elements. Just as people decay, so too can DNA evidence if it is not stored correctly.

Potential for Future Developments in Criminal Investigations

Recently, DNA has been used by nonprofit research organizations like the Innocence Project to exonerate wrongly accused people. Many of those who were exonerated were facing death row, life in prison, or had their execution scheduled. Not only were they wrongly accused, but DNA evidence helped direct investigative efforts toward those who were actually responsible. DNA is a powerful tool, but recent history has show that it isn’t free from drawbacks.

If you have been accused of a crime, contact Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC immediately. Our attorney can help protect your rights in court and defend your freedom.


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