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Author Topic: DNA  (Read 3672 times)

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Debbie Matthews

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DNA
« on: October 28, 2006, 11:17:18 PM »

Saw an interesting Forensic Files last night.  A molecular biologist used the DNA the police had and identified the serial killer as African American.  The police had been looking for a white man because 1) most serial killers are white and 2) at two sites witnesses had seen a white man in a white pickup.  I didn't realize that could be done.
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Debbie
"Do or do not.  There is no try."-Yoda
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Deborah Matthews
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Kathy Wendorff

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Re: DNA
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2006, 11:22:45 PM »

How would that DNA test for race work? I'm not disputing its existence, but exactly what marker does it look at? There's been such a mixture of European and African genes in this country, for instance -- all you have to do is look at the range of skin color, hair texture and facial features in people self-identified as black. How would the test distinguish between a light-skinned straight-haired African American, and a white whose great-grandfather was born black, but passed as white to escape discrimination?

How about someone with a Chinese father and a Welsh-German mother? Or some, but not 100%, Native American ancestry?

Would the test give a sliding scale answer, based on a range of sites? And you'd have to correlate it with appearance or known genealogy?

It strikes me as a very dicey tool to defend in court.

Kathy W.
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Debbie Matthews

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Re: DNA
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2006, 05:25:17 PM »

I believe they said on Forensic Files that was the first time it had been done.  Don't remember where it was.  But they did test him before they sent him the DNA from the crime scene.  Sent him something like 20 or 25 different DNAs and he got every one right.  And it didn't say they used it to convict him.  They just didn't have a lot of clues to who the serial killer was.

Kind of like on Psychic Detectives.  They always use the psychic once the case is cold and they don't know where else to go.  The skeptical cop isn't so skeptical at the end.

Debbie
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Debbie
"Do or do not.  There is no try."-Yoda
---------------------
Deborah Matthews
winner of the 2002 National Reader's Choice Awards
http://deborahmatthews.net
http://shoutlife.com/deborahbriscoe

Kathy Wendorff

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Re: DNA
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2006, 06:59:24 AM »

Ah, I get it now -- the race DNA test doesn't indite or exclude anyone, just gives you a general idea about what mix of ancestors the person has.

That makes sense.

Kathy W.

   
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