DNA fingerprinting on trial: the dramatic early history of a new forensic technique.

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Abstract or Description

The early history of "DNA fingerprinting" in the UK might have been different were it not for the accounts of two dramatic courtroom trials, made by the participants and the media, in the mid-1980s. But these reports, which misrepresented the importance DNA evidence had in the trials, left a strong impression on the British public and on judges on both sides of the Atlantic. These trials, widely considered to be the first "victories" for DNA fingerprinting, have been frequently cited as proof of the utility and reliability of the technique, in both the UK and beyond. But in reality, it was the threat of DNA evidence being used rather than the integrity or validity of it that resolved these cases. At that time, DNA fingerprinting was still in its infancy, an untried and untested technology.




Published In

Endeavour, 29, 3, 126-131.