DNA fingerprinting, also referred to as DNA profiling and DNA typing refers
to the identification of an individual based on his or her DNA profile.
It is referred to as a
fingerprint because portions of the DNA structure of certain genes are as unique to
each individual as fingerprints. This identification technique was developed
in 1985 by Alec Jeffreys and his colleagues at Leicester University in England.
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid is found in almost every cell in the human
body. Each cell contains the double-helix structure in cell nuclei that
carries the genetic information of most living organisms. DNA can be found
in blood, skin, hair follicles, saliva, semen and are common sources of
crime-scene DNA and can be critical in crime scene investigations. DNA
evidence is very reliable but it requires special handling and testing
in order to yield accurate test results.
DNA is not perfect. A skilled criminal defense attorney can challenge the
DNA by highlighting errors in the collecting, handling and testing of
the DNA evidence in order to show the unreliability of the DNA.