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Whose DNA Is It Anyway?

G. Hampikian, V. Weedn, M.W. Perlin, A. Blumstein, J. Rangos, K. Mains, L. Irwin, A. Adepoju and W. Oliver, "Whose DNA is it anyway?", Duquesne University Forensic Fridays, Continuing Legal Education Program on DNA Access, Pittsburgh, PA, 15-Mar-2013.


Open Access DNA Database

PowerPoint presentation with live audio recording of Dr. Mark Perlin's talk at Duquesne University Forensic Fridays.

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Duquesne University Forensic Friday


DNA can free the innocent and convict the guilty - but only when it is actually used. Government agencies control DNA evidence. However, most have not yet adopted newer analysis methods and databases that get better information from the same data. Many agencies restrict access to data that can help criminal justice or prevent crime. What should the public expect for the billions it spends on forensic DNA?

  • How should DNA information be used for criminal identification?
  • Who should have access to DNA data?
  • What are the privacy issues involved?
  • Where is the ethical boundary between DNA safety and societal surveillance?
  • Can we prevent rapes, homicides and other crimes by making better use of existing DNA information?
  • How might competition help improve government forensic DNA practices?

"The field of forensic DNA analysis constitutes a premier method for prosecuting and convicting the guilty while, at the same time, absolving the innocent," said Dr. David Seybert, dean and professor of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, which is co-sponsoring the seminar. "It is imperative that forensic practitioners and the criminal justice community engage in this type of dialogue in an ongoing basis." In addition to the Wecht Institute and the Bayer School,"Whose DNA Is it Anyway?" is co-sponsored by Duquesne University's School of Nursing.

Presenters at "Whose DNA Is it Anyway?" include:

  • Akin Adepoju, assistant federal defender, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Alfred Blumstein, the J. Erik Jonsson University Professor of Urban Systems and Operations Research, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dr. Gregory Hampikian, professor of biological sciences and criminal justice, Boise State University, and director of the Idaho Innocence Project
  • Laura Irwin, assistant U.S. attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania
  • Det. Kenneth Mains, Lycoming County District Attorney's Office
  • Wesley Oliver, professor of law, Duquesne University
  • Dr. Mark Perlin, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer, Cybergenetics
  • The Hon. Jill Rangos, judge, Criminal Division, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
  • Dr. Victor Weedn, chair of the Department of Forensic Sciences, The George Washington University