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New EU project to examine accuracy of DNA profiling methods

A team of researchers from four Member States are to test the accuracy and efficiency of methods used to provide DNA profiles from physical evidence left behind at a crime scene in a project funded under the EU's Fifth Framework programme (FP5). Researchers from Denmark, Germ...

A team of researchers from four Member States are to test the accuracy and efficiency of methods used to provide DNA profiles from physical evidence left behind at a crime scene in a project funded under the EU's Fifth Framework programme (FP5). Researchers from Denmark, Germany, Spain and the UK will work together for 12 months, beginning in September, on the SNPforID project, which has a budget of over 1.5 million euro. DNA is often used by forensic scientists to identify persons from physical evidence left behind at a crime scene. Current DNA technology allows the identification of one individual from another, and can be recovered from blood, semen, saliva, bone, teeth or microscopic fragments of skin or other tissues. DNA forensic science is not only used to identify criminal suspects, but to exonerate those wrongly accused of crimes. 'It is very exciting for us to be involved in this project, which will speed up the investigation of crime across Europe and help those cases where current technology is inadequate,' said the leading UK scientists from the project, Dr Denise Syndercombe-Court. The project will examine the accuracy and efficiency of current methods used for DNA profiling. Most DNA databases worldwide use short tandem repeat (STR) DNA to provide a genetic market. Often however, the DNA collected from crime scenes is very degraded, making it impossible to generate a complete profile from the STRs. By using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), a different component of DNA, a profile can be created from fragmented DNA.