A new breakthrough in DNA forensic crime scene techniques is set to enable detectives to identify the presence of a specific suspect at a crime scene even if the individual’s DNA is mixed up with that of other people who were present – a capacity that has, up to now, eluded police.
Prof. Ariel Darvasi, of the Hebrew University’s Department of Genetics, together with his student, Lev Voskoboinik, of the police forensic biology laboratory, jointly developed the technique, and recently published their finding in Forensic Science International: Genetics.
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“In recent years, DNA forensics has become a very important part of police work, and it has become routine. But under today’s conditions, when DNA from multiple individuals was found at a crime scene, the evidence was cast aside and not used, and other forms of forensics were examined,” Darvasi told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. In such cases, forensic officers have to try to identify suspects through other means, such as bloodstains, footprints, fingerprints or unusual items left behind. Yet by throwing away the DNA evidence, the investigators are also disregarding a suspect’s DNA, Darvasi said.
“Our technology provides a solution to this problem. If a crime scene contains mixed strands of intertwined DNA, police will be able to see if a certain suspect was there and isolate his DNA fingerprint in the DNA mixture. This is new for police in Israel and everywhere in the world,” he added.