I’ve been working on edits on one of my manuscripts and needed to do some fact-checking around DNA testing and result times. I found some interesting stuff!
Rapid DNA testing
Rapid DNA testing is most commonly used to determine the relationship between donors, and is also used to determine if a suspect has been involved in another crime in a timely manner. A swab is taken—it only works on body fluid swabs, usually from the mouth—and the results used to search current databases. The test takes about 2 hours to complete. The test doesn’t need a lab as it uses a portable machine.
Standard DNA testing
This can be done on any sample. The test itself takes 24 to 72 hours, but actual processing times depend on the workload of the lab doing the testing – anywhere from a week or two to several months.
What can it prove?
DNA testing is only 100% certain when it comes to excluding people. It can prove someone wasn’t at a crime scene better than it can prove they were. DNA can degenerate, making accurate results difficult to produce.
Imagine your DNA being found at a crime scene when you’ve never been there, or know the people involved? Scientists are still learning about the transfer of DNA and we shed cells wherever we go. Nor does DNA have a time stamp. A person who was at the crime scene 2 weeks before the crime was committed may find their DNA caught up in the case.
And to finish, some interesting facts about DNA
Plant DNA can be used to solve criminal cases
Every human’s DNA is 99% the same
Humans and cabbages share 40-50% of their DNA (Source)
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