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DNA Test – The CSI Effect

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Since TV shows such as CSI became popular criminals are becoming more proficient at covering their tracks despite the DNA test.

TV Dramatising The DNA Test

The DNA test has become increasingly popular in solving crime, according to the storylines of TTV shows such as Crime Scene Investigation. The way these shows portray it, crimes can be almost immediately solved thanks to some fibres or DNA left on the crime scene by the perpetrator. However, shows like CSI have been accused of giving away too much detail of the techniques behind the DNA test and gathering of samples. It is argued that criminals are able to cover their tracks by becoming more aware of how not to leave DNA on the crime scene.

The CSI Effect

The CSI effect, as it has been dubbed, is being taken very seriously in America. A prosecutor in Oregon recently told The Guardian newspaper that rapists are now sanitising their own crime scenes with bleach. As an example, two women who were convicted of killing an older woman in their care before dumping the body in a ravine had bragged to their friends that the police would never prove the crime. They were avid fans of the TV program CSI.

DNA Tests On Crime Scene Evidence

The forensic science behind DNA tests on crime scene evidence has advanced in recent years. The DNA test, known as DNA fingerprinting, has made it a challenging time for criminals, who now have to work harder to avoid leaving biological clues that link them to the crime. Scientists anticipate that they will soon be able to build a three-dimensional image of the suspect, right down to the colour of their eyes. There is, however, always some possibility of specimens and DNA tests getting mixed up or sabotaged.

Caught by a DNA Test

Crime-fighting still benefits from traditional detective work too, though. Although criminals may be learning how not to leave evidence behind that may incriminate them in a DNA test, in Ohio a man was charged with murder because he was given away by an ex-girlfriend, not because of any DNA traces he may have left behind.

No DNA Evidence

The problem, however, has also leaked into the jury system. Forensic programmes on TV place so much epmphasis on hair, sweat or fabrics for a DNA test that prosecutors say jurors are increasingly reluctant to convict without hi-tech forensic evidence, whereas in many cases there is no clear DNA evidence.

Glamourising The DNA Test And Those Behind Them

A DNA test in real life can be incredibly useful in paternity and other everyday cases, not only in crime scenes, and it's worth keeping TV clichés in perspective otherwise we may all expect forensic scientists to be strikingly handsome men and women!


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