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Troubled Twins? New DNA Method May Finally Reveal the Good Twin from the Bad

Technological advancements in our society have changed the way trials are held, and the admissibility of this new technology as evidence may increase the probability of charging the guilty and releasing the innocent. The most recent technological advancement in DNA testing might be used in Boston for the first time in the U.S. In a study published by the Forensic Science International journal, geneticists have found a way of differentiating between monozygotic twins, or “identical twins.” Identical twins are created in the same single fertilized egg, meaning that twins have the same genetic material. Having the same genetic material creates a circumstance where the DNA evidence not only points to one individual, but two. In many cases in history, both identical twins were arrested, and because of a lack of persuasive evidence determining it was one twin over the other, they were acquitted.

The Difference Between Conventional DNA Evidence Testing and the New Method

The scientific community has found a way around the problems of conventional DNA evidence testing. Generally, forensic DNA testing occurs by testing a set of 16 to 24 short tandem repeat (STR) markers. Identical twins will share the same STR marker profile, thus making it difficult, in conventional DNA testing, to distinguish between the two. However, it was hypothesized that identical twins, once split into two as fetuses, experience rare genetic mutations that occur in the somatic tissue and germline. These rare genetic mutations that occur within the twins are very difficult to find and referred to as “finding a needle in a haystack.” But, after significant testing of the hypothesis, forensic scientists understand where to look for the needle and may be able to finally solve criminal cases and paternity status.

Application of the Second-Generation Genome Mapping Method in Criminal Cases

The breakthrough method, known as second-generation genome mapping, comes at the same moment as the trial against identical twins both charged for the same crime. The identical twins were both arrested and charged for the rape and robbery of two women in Boston, Massachusetts. Genetic material found in a discarded condom located at the scene of one of the crimes implicated one of the men, but conventional DNA testing methods could not rule out the possibility that the crime was committed by the other. The new DNA forensic evidence testing method was applied and it was established that one of the twins was 2 billion times more likely than his brother to be the source of the DNA.

Will This New Method Be Admitted into Evidence?

The question that now needs to be answered is whether this new genetic evidence testing method is admissible in trial. Currently, no U.S. Court jurisdiction has applied this new DNA testing method, as the method is relatively new and there is always concern about espousing new technology that has yet to become the rule and not the exception. The case of the twins in Boston will be the first U.S. case to apply this new DNA testing method, and it will be up to the judge to determine whether it is admissible or not. If the judge rules that it is not admissible, then both twins may be forced into trial until evidence can acquit one of the two men.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

This new DNA testing method will be able to save lives and protect the innocent from the guilty. It’s important, however, that an experienced criminal defense attorney is advocating on your behalf and ensuring that this type of new evidence is admitted, if you are facing charges. Kevin J. Kulik is an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area and will safeguard your rights and make sure that you have access to a fair proceeding. Contact Kevin J. Kulik in Fort Lauderdale today for a confidential and free consultation.

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