Articles      *      Books      *      Websites

a. Articles
Schmiedeskamp, Mia. 1999. Crimes against nature. Scientific American. 280(3):28.
Abstract: The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, OR,
was built in 1989 to aid the police in its battle against the illegal wildlife trade.
Morphologists, chemists and pathologists compose the laboratory staff who work
hand in hand with firearms experts to solve crimes against nature.

Holden, Constance. 1997. DNA fingerprinting comes of age. Science. 278: 1407
Abstract: At a recent press conference, the FBI announced that, for the first time, their experts will be allowed to testify that DNA from biological evidence at the scene of a crime came from a specific person. According to the new policy, if the likelihood of a random match is less than 1 in 260 billion, the examiner can claim that the samples are a perfect match. FBI officials said that technological advances in the use of restriction fragment length polymorphisms and more complete data on the frequency of different DNA patterns in different ethnic populations have made analyses much more exact.

George, Karyn Hede. 1996. DNA fingerprinting gets a reprieve. Technology Review. 99: 15-16.
Abstract: A report by the National Research Council (NRC) argues that it is time for courts to accept DNA profiles as positive identification. DNA profiles have been used as evidence in thousands of cases, but scientists have disagreed over their reliability in linking a suspect to a crime. The committee, whose chief aim was to clear up controversy surrounding an earlier NRC report, repeals in its report the most controversial recommendation of that previous committee, which said that not enough was known about DNA sequences to make an accurate calculation of the frequency with which particular sequences appear in various ethnic groups.

Mestel, Rosie. 1994. Incredible, shrinking DNA fingerprinting. New Scientist. 144: 20.
Abstract: A tiny device invented in California has speeded up an important step in DNA analysis. The device miniaturizes a technique called DNA electrophoresis. The new device is about one-fiftieth the size of conventional electrophoresis equipment. The miniaturization of the key steps in DNA analysis could enable computerized machines the size of credit cards to perform DNA analyses in minutes rather than the days or weeks presently required.

Bown, William. 1993. DNA fingerprinting back in the dock. New Scientist. 137:14-15.

Devlin, B.; Risch, Neil.; Roeder, Kathryn. 1993. Statistical evaluation of DNA fingerprinting: a critique of the NRC's report. Science. 259: 748-9.

Beardsley, Tim. 1992. DNA fingerprinting reconsidered (again). Scientific American. 267: 26

Charles, Dan. 1992. Courtroom battle over genetic fingerprinting. New Scientist. 134:10

Roberts, Leslie. 1991. Fight erupts over DNA fingerprinting. Science. 254: 1721-3.

Norman, Colin. 1989. Maine case deals blow to DNA fingerprinting. Science. 246:1556-8
Abstract: DNA fingerprinting is a powerful tool in criminal investigations, but a recent court case in Maine involving the sexual assault of a child illustrates the need for more research in the field before the technology can be used properly in a courtroom. During the cross examination of an employee of Lifecodes, the company hired to perform the DNA typing in the Maine case, the defense lawyer exposed a problem with the way the firm had tried to correct for a phenomenon known as bandshifting. In addition, an expert witness for the prosecution advised the prosecutor that the semen sample that was intended as a key piece of evidence was uninterpretable because there was too much background interference to measure the bands in the DNA precisely. The National Academy of Sciences has appointed a committee to establish guidelines for DNA fingerprinting.

Cherfas, Jeremy. 1985. Geneticists develop DNA fingerprinting. New Scientist. 105: 21

Murphy, Cullen. 1997. DNA fatigue: worn out by a nucleotidal wave. Atlantic Monthly. 280(5):28.
Abstract: A humorous commentary is presented on the prevalence of DNA
testing in widely diverse areas of modern life, from criminal trials to investigations
of the Dead Sea scrolls. It ends with a recommendation for combating boredom
with the subject by creating ignorance preserves.

Watterhahn, Ralph. 1998. Missing in action. Popular Science, 253(2): 46
Abstract: DNA samples taken from bone fragments are being used to identify casualties of the Vietnam War. Compared to nuclear DNA, mitochondrial DNA is better preserved so it is chosen for comparison with those obtained from maternal relatives of the wartime casualties.

If the genes fit.... (DNA fingerprinting evidence in O.J. Simpson murder trial) People Weekly, Oct. 10, 1994 v42 n15 p61(1)
Abstract: The jurors in the Simpson trial will become unwitting experts on the use and limitations of DNA fingerprinting. Two methods will be used in the case: the more conclusive restriction fragment length polymorphism and polymerase chain reaction, which needs only tiny samples of genetic material.

Roberts, Leslie. 1991. Fight erupts over DNA fingerprinting: a bitter debate is raging over how the results of this new forensic technique are interpreted in court. Science. 254(5039): 1721. (includes article on Richard Lewontin's & Daniel Hartl's controversial paper in Science) .

Balding, D. and P. Donnelly. 1994. How convincing is DNA evidence? Nature. 368:285-6.

Nowak, R. 1994. Forensic DNA goes to court with O.J. Simpson. Science. 265:1352-54.

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b. Books
Ballantyne, John, George Sensabaugh, and Jan Witkowski. .DNA Technology and Forensic Science. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Lab, 1989. (HC/stacks)

Billings, Paul R., ed. DNA on Trial: genetic identification and criminal justice. Plainview, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Lab, 1992. (HC)

Burke, Terry, ed. DNA fingerprinting: approaches and applications. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1991. (Umass)
Papers from the First International Symposium on DNA Fingerprinting, Bern, Switzerland, October 1991.

DNA Technology in Forensic Science. Committee on DNA Technology in Forensic Science, Board on Biology, Commission on Life Sciences, and National Research council. Washinton, D.C.: National Academy, 1992. (Umass-- unpaid/billed/lost??)

DNA Technology in Forensic Science. (videos). FBI- Lab Division. (198?). (HC)
#3: Mitochondrial DNA / auto. sequencing
#4: Probe labeling / cloning
#5: RFLPs / VNTR probes
#6: PCR / dot blot for dried stain and hair analysis
#8: Paternity testing / legal system

Farley, M.A. and J.J. Harrington, eds. Forensic DNA Technology. Chelsea, MI: Lewis Publishers, 1991. (HC)

Genetic Witness: forensic uses of DNA tests. Washington, D.C.: Congress of U.S., Office of Technology Assessment, 1990. (MHC)

Pena, S.D.J., ed. DNA fingerprinting: state of the science. Boston: Birkhauser, 1993. (Umass)
Papers from the 2nd International Conference on DNA Fingerprinting, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, November 1992.

Kirby, Lorne T. DNA Fingerprinting: an introduction. NY: Stockton Press, 1990. (MHC)

Krawczak, Michael and J. Schmidtke. DNA Fingerprinting. NY: Springer-Velag, 1998.
Includes genetic background, polymorphisms, DNA typing for identification of suspects and relatives, technical and ethics issues. (Umass)

Rothstein, M.A., ed. Genetic Secrets: protecting privacy and confidentiality in the genetic era. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1997. (HC)

Wambaugh, Joseph. The Blooding. NY: Morrow, 1989. (Umass)
A novel about the first use of DNA fingerprinting in a court case.

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c. Websites

Includes 2 animations, one on southern blotting, includes additional web sources.

A class project with really good basic information, graphics. Includes what is DNA, what is fingerprinting, how it's done, applications, problems, further reading, and a glossary.

"DNA Goes to Court" by Lynn Elwell, PhD. An article on the use of DNA testing in courts, published in Carolina Biological Supply Co.'s Carolina Tips. Includes classroom exercise on probability.

How scientists and forensic experts use technology to analyze evidence from crime scenes, why DNA testing became main tool of lawyers and entomologists alike, includes fingerprinting and other forensics tests.

From the MIT hypertextbook, an excerpt from Dr. Eric S. Lander at the "Winding your way through DNA" symposium at UCSF, 1992. Has good examples, addresses standards of the field, databases, how fingerprinting was used to identify the disappeared of Argentina using mitochondrial DNA, for plant strain patent infringements, and concludes with the social consequences of basic science.
Part of "About Biotech" series from Genentech's Access Excellence Program. An interview with DNA forensics authority, Dr. Bruce Weir. Covers a good scope of questions on the science and techniques.

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 Molecular Modeling

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