Encoded evidence: DNA in forensic analysis

Nat Rev Genet. 2004 Oct;5(10):739-51. doi: 10.1038/nrg1455.


Sherlock Holmes said "it has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important", but never imagined that such a little thing, the DNA molecule, could become perhaps the most powerful single tool in the multifaceted fight against crime. Twenty years after the development of DNA fingerprinting, forensic DNA analysis is key to the conviction or exoneration of suspects and the identification of victims of crimes, accidents and disasters, driving the development of innovative methods in molecular genetics, statistics and the use of massive intelligence databases.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA Fingerprinting / history
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods
  • DNA Fingerprinting / trends
  • Databases, Genetic / ethics
  • Databases, Genetic / trends
  • Forensic Sciences / history
  • Forensic Sciences / methods*
  • Forensic Sciences / trends*
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Techniques / trends*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genetics / history
  • Genetics / trends*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • International Cooperation


  • Genetic Markers