Forensic DNA Testing: Why Are There Still Bumps in the Road?

DNA Lecture Series

A lecture by Robin W. Cotton, associate professor and director, Biomedical Forensic Sciences, Boston University School of Medicine

The use of DNA for the analysis of biological evidence began in the US in 1987 and has had a positive and permanent effect on all forensic testing. DNA testing has lead in development of standards for forensic laboratory testing, and standards for all types of forensic testing are currently being developed through the NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees.

Rapid non-laboratory based DNA testing equipment and DNA sequencing methods for forensic application, along with the associated “big data," will present the next methodological changes and challenges. However, the roughness of the intersection between science and law has not significantly improved and continues to challenge forensic science practitioners and lawyers representing both the defense and prosecution sides of criminal cases. This talk will review current scientific and laboratory challenges and discuss the issues encountered when forensic scientists, lawyers, and judges all try to “do the right thing” together.

This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 4:45 p.m.; lecture begins at 5 p.m.

Part of the DNA lecture series. A larger, one-day public symposium on the topic, "The Past, Present, and Future of DNA," took place on Friday, October 2, 2015.