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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 170596 Find in a Library
Title: Unrealized Potential of DNA Testing, Research in Brief
Series: NIJ Research in Brief
Author(s): V W Weedn; J W Hicks
Date Published: 1998
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF|Text
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Further advances in DNA testing are under way and will help DNA testing realize its full potential for identifying perpetrators and exonerating people who have been falsely convicted.
Abstract: The development of forensic DNA testing has expanded the types of useful biological evidence. Substances such as saliva, teeth, and bones, as well as semen and blood, can be sources of DNA. These sources are expanding still further, as researchers explore the potential of other biological substances such as hair, skin, cells, and fingerprints. However, the use of DNA evidence is currently limited because much of what could be tested remains unrecovered and unanalyzed. Samples have been obtained from less than half the individuals convicted for sexual assault for whom DNA collection is legislatively mandated and only 20 percent of the DNA samples obtained have been processed. The reasons for the lag in evidence recovery and processing are the scarcity of law enforcement resources, laboratory backlogs caused by insufficient funding, and time-consuming and costly testing methods. It is impossible to analyze all the potential evidentiary specimens submitted under the deadlines imposed by the courts. Improvements in technology to speed the processing of DNA evidence should make it possible to overcome these obstacles within the next few years. In addition, the development of DNA databases and networks can substantially augment DNA profiling. Finally, the initial collection of evidence is improving as a result of the establishment in many jurisdictions of more structured crime-scene teams and more formalized evidence collection procedures. Illustrations and reference notes
Main Term(s): Science and Technology
Index Term(s): DNA fingerprinting; Forensic sciences; Suspect identification; Technical evolution
Note: National Institute of Justice Research in Action, June 1998. Article originally published in the National Institute of Justice Journal, N 234 (December 1997)
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