Many people believe the validity of DNA when it comes to determining the perpetrator of a crime. But what if that evidence were tainted or worse yet, planted at the scene by the real criminal in order to frame an innocent person? The results of a study performed in 2009 show these scenarios are entirely possible, and how many times they have been performed is really anybody’s guess.
Scientists in the UK performed a study whereby they obliterated traces of an individual’s DNA and then replaced it with that of another person. The results of this study were astonishing, as it resulted in other scientists mistakenly identifying the source of the DNA. One of the researchers, Dan Frumkin claimed that the process of removing one person’s DNA and replacing it with another was relatively simple. He remarked that “any biology undergraduate could perform this.”
According to Frumkin, it is relatively easy to obtain someone’s DNA. It can be taken from chewing gum, cigarette butts and even discarded beverage containers. He is rather disturbed by the fact that the possibility of DNA evidence being faked has been completely overlooked by the court system.
This study raises some disturbing questions, especially since DNA evidence is often used by prosecutors to secure a conviction. The very real possibility exists that countless people are wrongly incarcerated due to the manipulation of DNA. These people stand little hope of exoneration, since they would in essence have to prove they were victims of misconduct rather than having the state prove their guilt.