Dangers of DNA Testing Op-ed

Last month, Professor Greg Hampikan of Boise State University wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Dangers of DNA Testing.” Hampikan described a recently-published NIST study of US and Canadian crime labs that gave them a fictionalized crime and DNA mixture to analyze that contained DNA from two of three suspects. Over two thirds of labs surveyed sent back DNA results implicating a suspect whose DNA was not present in the mixture.  Hampikan writes that among the lab results from the NIST study, “the match statistics varied over 100 trillion-fold.” He explains that such variable statistics have the potential to mislead jurors.  He also notes that four wrongful convictions have been overturned in situations in which labs have run previous results through new computer programs that reinterpreted the data. He is hopeful that such programs can help labs remedy prior mistakes.  Hampikan’s op-ed is available at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/21/opinion/the-dangers-of-dna-testing.html.

 

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