By Barbara D'Amato
DNA evidence can be fabricated, accoding to a report in The New York Times [August 17 2009].
Scientists in Isreal have made up samples of saliva and blood with DNA that's different from the donor of the samples. And there's even worse news. If they had your DNA profile, say from a law enforcement database, they could construct the DNA without needing any blood or physical tissue from you.
Dan Frumkin, the author of the paper that appeared in Forensic Science International: Genetics, says "Any biology undergraduate could perform this."
Tania Simoncelli, from the ACLU, warns that DNA is easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints. As a person who once moved fingerprints in a book, I can testify that it's difficult.
But there's hope. Frumkin has also apparently developed a way to tell faked DNA apart from real samples. He's working to sell his method to forensics laboratories.
Unless the way to tell faked from real turns out to be successful, DNA forging is enough to send most writers who deal with crime scenes back to the drawing board and give them fits for a while. But like most scientific developments, for a writer, the question is whether this one is a boon or a disaster. It will certainly "date" many books if it becomes generally used.