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When DNA is not a gold standard: failing to interpret mixture evidence

Perlin, M.W. When DNA is not a gold standard: failing to interpret mixture evidence. The Champion, 42(4):50-56, May 2018.


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The Champion


Abstract: DNA evidence has the power to identify the guilty and absolve the innocent. It is the gold standard of forensic science. Except when it’s not. Most DNA is a mixture of two or more people. Scientists and software have struggled with its interpretation for two decades. In fact, the record shows a dismal failure of government incompetence and criminal injustice.

Dr. Mark Perlin reviews the history of failed DNA mixture interpretation. He begins in 1985, at the start of the genomics revolution, discussing the origins of modern DNA testing. Proceeding in five-year increments, he outlines missed opportunities and policy failures. Perlin offers recommendations to help overcome long-standing DNA interpretation problems.