DNA evidence research papers are written for students in criminal justice courses that examine forensic evidence. Paper Masters specializes in projects on criminology and criminal justice topics. The following are a few suggestions for topics on a research paper that needs to focus on DNA evidence:
- Research the history of DNA evidence use
- Research cases in which DNA evidence changed a law or legal precedent
- Write a research paper on how DNA evidence has freed wrongly incarcerated individuals
- Report on the various legal groups that use DNA evidence to fight for the rights of the wrongly accused
Research papers on the impact of DNA evidence, like DNA fingerprinting, on forensic science show DNA has become an invaluable tool. Crimes that 20 years ago remained unsolved mysteries can now be re-opened and evaluated on the premise of DNA evidence. Further, DNA evidence can be used in a court of law to determine guilt or innocence. In fact, a number of famous criminal trials have used DNA evidence in conjunction with other physical evidence to convict suspects. Beginning in Britain, DNA evidence was first utilized as means to prosecute and convict rapist and murder Colin Pitchfork.
DNA Evidence at a Crime Scene
The presence of DNA testing material at a crime scene, at the very least, points to the presence of a specific individual. For almost a half century geneticists have understood that individual chromosomes are actually self-replicating molecules composed of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, and that individual genes are composed of subsets of these molecules. With the exception of identical siblings, these DNA assemblies are unique to each individual person. Recent technological advances have permitted the development of methodology allowing forensic experts to render a confident opinion regarding the individual the source of human tissue, even in minute quantities. This, in turn, may allow for confident incrimination of the source as well as exculpation of others.
Confidence in a DNA match to a specific person is based on probability. Using the most recently developed techniques--and assuring that laboratory personnel are professionally competent and their equipment is functioning properly--the probability of error can be reduced to as low as one in several billion.
Investigators and DNA Evidence
It should be understood in research papers that DNA evidence is not a magic bullet. It is only as good as the investigators who collect evidence and the technicians who process it. Furthermore, the presence or absence of such forensic evidence may point to criminal behavior but it does not necessarily, of itself, demonstrate such behavior. (For example, the presence of an individuals blood at the scene of a crime may well have a perfectly innocent explanation, irrespective the appearance of the crime scene.) However, even within the constraints of these caveats, DNA forensic evidence is a powerful tool.