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Nonhuman DNA Evidence

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Document pages: 15 pages

Abstract: After a decade of use, the novelty of DNA evidence has worn off. Nonetheless, new methods of DNA analysis are being introduced, new loci within the human genome are being employed, and DNA samples from other organisms are being tested. When evidence made possible by these advances is presented in courts, judges must decide whether the newer procedures are scientifically sound or generally accepted in the scientific community. Focusing on nonhuman DNA evidence, this Article identifies and describes factors that courts should examine in passing on the admissibility of novel DNA evidence. The framework that we construct is neither rigid nor self-applying. Some understanding of and appreciation for the nature, structure, and process of scientific reasoning in general and of the special characteristics of forensic science in particular are necessary to evaluate the scientific quality of the evidence.

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