Criminals may fake DNA evidence to 'engineer crime scenes', say experts
London, August 19 (ANI): Experiments conducted by Israeli scientists have shown that it is possible to obliterate all traces of DNA from a blood sample and add someone else's genetic material in its place, raising fears that people may "engineer crime scenes".
Dr. Dan Frumkin, who led the research, revealed that the experiments were so successful that even forensic scientists who carry out DNA fingerprinting for American courts were fooled.
The findings threaten to undermine the key forensic technique, which has secured thousands of convictions in Britain and around the world, because it shows that criminals may plant samples of blood or saliva at crime scenes to cover their tracks, and thereby lead to innocent people being wrongly convicted.
"If you can fake blood, saliva or any other tissue, you can engineer a crime scene," the Telegraph quoted Dr. Frumkin as telling the Daily Mail.
"You have full control of the situation. Any biology undergraduate could perform this," the researcher added.
He insisted that his company had made a kit that could distinguish real DNA samples from fake ones.
His team used two techniques to fabricate DNA evidence.
In the first, the researchers extracted minute samples of genetic material from strands of hair, and multiplied them up many times over. They then inserted the DNA into blood cells that had been purged of all genetic clues to their real owner.
The blood then contained the genetic fingerprint of the first person, according to a report published in the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics.
The researchers fear that criminals may eventually misuse the technology in the same fashion as credit card details are commonly stolen to commit identity fraud.
They warned: "Today, DNA evidence is key to the conviction or exoneration of suspects of various types of crime, from theft to rape and murder. However, the disturbing possibility that DNA evidence can be faked has been overlooked."
They added: "DNA with any desired genetic profile can be easily synthesised using common and recently developed biological techniques, integrated into human tissues or applied to surfaces of objects, and then planted in crime scenes."
However, British experts said that it was highly unlikely any criminal would go to such lengths.
Dr. Gill Tully, of the government-funded Forensic Science Service, said: "You would need a full molecular biology lab, thousands of pounds worth of equipment and a fully competent molecular biology scientist or technician. The vast majority of people who may be involved in criminality would not have access to these materials. It seems a very complicated way to fabricate evidence. I can think of much easier defences to raise."(ANI)