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Scientists: DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated

Scientists in Israel have successfully fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA, potentially undercutting what has been considered key evidence in the conviction or exoneration in crime cases, the New York Times reported.

According to the newspaper, the scientists also demonstrated that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

"Any biology undergraduate could perform this," said Dr. Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which is published online in the journal Genetics.

The paper asserts that while DNA analysis has become a centerpiece of law enforcement, the possibility that such evidence can be faked has not been considered.

"This is potentially huge news in the world of criminal justice, which hasn't yet even fully had the time to embrace DNA for all of its uses," said CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen. "And I suspect it won't be long before defense attorneys are using this study to undercut DNA analysis and conclusions in cases all over the country."

"This is potentially terrible news for prosecutors and police and the military and all sorts of industries that use DNA testing to confirm or find information," Cohen adds. "As the paper's author says, 'You can now just engineer a crime scene.' Good news for crime dramas on television but not so much to the criminal justice system."

"It'll be interesting to see how the legal world reacts to it and whether this study will be embraced or scorned by DNA experts here in the States," Cohen said. "But you can be sure that before too long DNA evidence in criminal cases all over will be challenged based upon these findings."

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