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DNA testing of sexual assault evidence: The laboratory perspective

Burg, Abby BS, F-ABC1; Kahn, Roger PhD, F-ABC2; Welch, Katherine MS, F-ABC3

doi: 10.1111/j.1939-3938.2011.01111.x
Review Article

The availability of DNA testing has dramatically changed the way that crimes are investigated. DNA results can link offenders to their crimes, exonerate wrongfully accused individuals, identify mass fatality victims and more. In the case of sexual assault, DNA evidence alone cannot prove that a sexual assault has occurred. DNA analysis can only reveal whether a person's DNA is, or is not, present. In this paper, the authors provide readers with an overview of the advantages and limitations of DNA analysis, the importance of proper evidence collection, the technologies available, and the amount of sample needed for testing. Through proper evidence collection and quality laboratory services, the full value of DNA will be realized.

1 DNA Analyst, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston, TX

2 Director, Forensic Genetics Laboratory, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston, TX

3 Serology/CODIS Manager, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston, TX

Correspondence Abby Burg, BS, F-ABC, 850 Bryant St., Building 606, San Francisco, CA 94103. Tel: (415)-671-3103; E-mail:

Received: October 1, 2010; accepted: February 14, 2011

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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