DNA Faking for Criminals and Murder Novelists

Master criminals and murder novelists, many of whom felt hemmed in by technical limitations, can feel relieved by the news of new DNA technology:

Authentication of forensic DNA samples,” Dan Frumkin, Adam Wasserstrom, Ariane Davidson and Arnon Grafit, Forensic Science International Genetics, Volume 4, Issue 2, Pages 95-103 (February 2010). (Thanks to Ed Yong for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at Nucleix Ltd., Tel Aviv, Israel, and at the Division of Identification & Forensic Science, Israel Police, explain:

“the disturbing possibility that DNA evidence can be faked has been overlooked. It turns out that standard molecular biology techniques such as PCR, molecular cloning, and recently developed whole genome amplification (WGA), enable anyone with basic equipment and know-how to produce practically unlimited amounts of in vitro synthesized (artificial) DNA with any desired genetic profile. This artificial DNA can then be applied to surfaces of objects or incorporated into genuine human tissues and planted in crime scenes. Here we show that the current forensic procedure fails to distinguish between such samples of blood, saliva, and touched surfaces with artificial DNA, and corresponding samples with in vivo generated (natural) DNA.”