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A close up view shows a 3D animation of a mitochondria, a tiny symbiotic helper that lives inside human cells. DNA from mitochondria has been used since the mid 1990s in certain criminal cases. A new study from John Hopkins raises doubts about the validity of this evidence.  (Source: Mitochondria Wiki)
Findings could lead to appeals nationwide, if verified

"You've got the wrong man!  I'm innocent!"

Many perfectly guilty criminals insist that, but what if it was true?  That indeed could be true in some cases, as a new revelation casts doubt on certain verdicts in the U.S. Justice system delivered since the mid-1990s.  It stems from an important finding made by a team co-led by Nickolas Papadopoulos, a Johns Hopkins University geneticist.  The team discovered that DNA from tiny symbiotic bacterial-descendants called mitochondria that live in our cells and give them energy varies from tissue to tissue in the human body. 

The finding is significant as mitochondrial DNA analysis was considered a proven enough technique that U.S. law enforcement has been using it as a tool to identify criminals since the mid-1990s.  Mitochondrial DNA analysis was often used in the cases where the human DNA was too damaged for accurate processing (there's numerous mitochondria in a cell, so there's a better chance of accurately processing it).

The new results, set to be published today in the Mar. 4 edition of the prestigious journal Nature, indicates that possibility of false negatives might be much higher than previously thought.  Also, the chance of two people having the same mitochondrial DNA goes up as well.

As Dr. Papadopoulos comments, "I wouldn’t say that it throws other results out the window, but it does throw a curve ball."

The new study used cutting edge gene sequencing equipment to analyze mitochondrial DNA from nine tissue types in two people.  It found a great deal of variety of mitochondrial DNA in various tissues, much more variation than was previously thought to exist.  For example, they found one DNA sequence was found in 7 percent of a person’s skeletal-muscle mitochondria, but 90 percent of their kidney mitochondria.

Dr. Papadopoulos describes, "It’s more than was thought, and was present in almost every tissue we looked at."

In order to get proper results, the study indicates, law enforcement would have to collect mitochondrial DNA from multiple regions in the suspect or victim's body.

Some aren't convinced that the results are accurate.  John Planz, associate director of the DNA Identity Laboratory at the University of North Texas Health Science Center says that past studies which indicated the same thing turned out to be the result of measurement errors.

Still, if the results are validated it could lead to a major shakeup in the field of forensics, including criminal forensics.  It could even lead to some appeals in the near future.  And it's not the only storm brewing for DNA evidence on the horizon; other studies have also cast doubts on the validity of using DNA evidence in court (among other things, anyone who has taken an intro biochemistry or molecular biology course should be able to recognize that it would be relatively elementary for a criminal to plant DNA evidence, such as hair or dandruff, from someone they lived in close quarters with, on a victim).


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Whatever
By mcnabney on 3/4/2010 10:29:33 AM , Rating: 1
This is not news. Mitochondria are primitive single celled organisims that live within the body. They have known about variation for some time. I am actually surprised they use it for criminal procedings. It is particularly useful in determining maternal lineage (you get your mitochondria from mom), but there is very little variation within mDNA to begin with since there just aren't that many genes in the little DNA ring.




RE: Whatever
By Sanity on 3/4/2010 10:39:43 AM , Rating: 1
I'm with you. I had no idea non-human DNA was being used as DNA evidence against people. Then again, it makes me wonder if the use of mDNA has set guilty people free, along with convicting the innocent.


RE: Whatever
By inighthawki on 3/4/2010 11:14:49 AM , Rating: 5
I can't imagine that DNA would be the only evidence used in cases to prove someone was guilty. I don't think a jury would even accept that. Chances are the DNA is used as supporting evidence along with OTHER evidence, or as a way to really nail down suspicions.


RE: Whatever
By MrPoletski on 3/5/2010 5:36:03 AM , Rating: 3
yes, aside from any 'is the DNA match accurate' you have the question of 'does the fact that his DNA was found on a cigarette butt near the crime prove his guilt' which has to be considered by the jury - or some similar ambiguity.


RE: Whatever
By Lerianis on 3/6/2010 10:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
You haven't seen how stupid some juries are, and I have seen cases where DNA evidence has been the ONLY real, hard evidence that someone is guilty of a crime in question.


RE: Whatever
By Jakeisbest on 3/10/2010 4:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
You do not need to use your imagination. Just open your eyes.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2010/100...


RE: Whatever
By Yojimbo on 3/4/2010 4:11:46 PM , Rating: 3
It's on the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. From the prosecution perspective, I think the idea is that the inaccuracies of dna evidence is smaller than the inaccuracies of other methods use to determine guilt, such as eyewitness accounts, etc, so adding dna evidence to the fold will help convict more guilty people than it will create an alibi for. The defense can choose to include dna evidence, i guess, and you are right, it would cast a pretty reasonable doubt, so of course innacuracies are going to set guilty people free. dna evidence should properly be viewed as a coincidence with a certain degree of probability, the point is, what is that degree of probability, considering all factors (accuracy of test, handling of samples, etc). If 30 eyewitnesses say they say someone who looks exactly like you do something, that's a coincidence which seems like it has a low degree of probability of happening, unless it can be explained by some means. but i think that, overall, the fact that there is in how dna is thought of by the scientific community puts a haze of doubt over ALL dna evidence..because if we are told that this is accurate to a certain amount, but things are in flux, how much faith can we have in it?


RE: Whatever
By roastmules on 3/4/2010 5:39:45 PM , Rating: 3
In addition to what Yojimbo states...

DNA, like fingerprints, is a study of statistics.

Right after a crime, both fingerprints and DNA points the investigators in a direction and can create probable cause for a search warrant.
For court, both fingerprints and DNA are presented as evidence, usually based on other reasons for investigation.
In the US, a case can't be presented on DNA alone, as it is not accurate enough. Studies have shown that attempting a one-to many relationship does not meet burden of proof on it's own merit.
Other evidence is then obtained.
The DNA is compared between the suspect and the evidence for a match.

For example, a murder is committed, and there's DNA from several people. The victim, their spouse, and one sample matching convicted felon John Doe which also matches Bob Smith at the scene. Police get a search warrant for both Bob and John's homes (generally can't convict solely on DNA). Police search John Doe's home and find a knife with the victim's blood. John is arrested. An eyewitness puts John at the site, but doesn't witness the murder. A video surveillance camera from down the street shows John attempting to run the victim over. John can either plea out to man1 or man2, or attempt a defence, or the prosecution will most likely go after a murder1 or 2 charge. Other evidence may also come up. In this case, faulty DNA would most likely not make much of a difference, as it was used primarily as probable cause for a search warrant.

Another example. DNA is found but there's no match. An eyewitness puts John at the site, but doesn't witness the murder. A video surveillance camera from down the street shows John attempting to run the victim over. This creates cause for a search warrant. Police find the knife, arrest John, and then do a DNA test. John's DNA matches the scene. In this case, faulty DNA would not make much of a difference due to the other evidence of the knife, video and witness statements.

The difference is between necessary, sufficient, required and optional. The DNA may be sufficient, however it is not required, and other evidence may also be sufficient.

Not a lawyer, YMMV, don't remove this tag under penalty of law.


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/4/2010 6:19:04 PM , Rating: 5
"In the US, a case can't be presented on DNA alone, as it is not accurate enough"

Whoa, whoa. On the contary, there have been several hundred convictions in the US granted on DNA evidence alone. Here's just one:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic...

In rape or rape/murder cases especially, DNA taken from semen is essentially a guaranteed conviction/


RE: Whatever
By chunkymonster on 3/5/2010 10:53:53 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, if you pull semen from a woman's vagina/clothing/person and it matches the accused, I see no other reason for more evidence to get a conviction. Talk about having your hand in the cookie jar! HAHAHAHAHA!

However, as stated, DNA alone SHOULD NOT be the only evidence needed for a conviction.


RE: Whatever
By Lerianis on 3/6/2010 10:51:46 PM , Rating: 2
Uh... you apparently don't think that women LIE about having sex with someone or not then..... I have a relative who was accused of raping a woman..... he admitted that he had sex with her consensually to the police... she wouldn't!
It was only after they found hotel employees who said that the woman in question went into him and they were SURE that they had consensual sex that the woman finally stopped lying to the police and admitted it was a consensual act.


RE: Whatever
By gamerk2 on 3/5/2010 8:33:54 AM , Rating: 4
You've explained how the legal system SHOULD work; You can easily get someone jailed simply by saying "DNA" these days, without actually having to prove the person in question was actually at the scene.


RE: Whatever
By zinfamous on 3/7/2010 12:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
non-human DNA?

...what are you smoking?


RE: Whatever
By Visual on 3/4/2010 11:35:21 AM , Rating: 5
They are not even organisms, they are just organelles. They might have evolved due to symbiosis with prokaryotic organisms at some point in the past, but you can't consider them a separate organism species now.
Just clarifying.


RE: Whatever
By mcnabney on 3/4/2010 8:25:31 PM , Rating: 4
Although they are called organelles in freshman biology, they are in fact symbiotic organisms that live and reproduce within the confines of the cell. They have their own DNA. You might call them permanent, obligate parasites. The cell provides the mitochondria with everything it needs to exist and the mitochondria provides the cell with surplus adenine triphosphate which is the energy currency of the cell. The dual lipid membrane of the mitochondria is evidence of how the mitochondria (think, early bacteria) was engulfed and found a productive way to exist within the cell without being consumed. Chloroplasts in plant cells are similar. They have a triple membrane and provide energy from solar radiation (photosynthesis).


RE: Whatever
By MatthiasF on 3/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/4/2010 2:08:49 PM , Rating: 3
"Mitochondrial DNA is not used for criminal forensics"

Huh? It certainly is. It's not the preferred method, but its certainly used:

http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome...


RE: Whatever
By MatthiasF on 3/4/2010 2:25:30 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read the link you provided? They don't use Mitochondrial DNA for criminal forensics except in very extreme cases.

quote:
Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Mitochondrial DNA analysis (mtDNA) can be used to examine the DNA from samples that cannot be analyzed by RFLP or STR. Nuclear DNA must be extracted from samples for use in RFLP, PCR, and STR; however, mtDNA analysis uses DNA extracted from another cellular organelle called a mitochondrion. While older biological samples that lack nucleated cellular material, such as hair, bones, and teeth, cannot be analyzed with STR and RFLP, they can be analyzed with mtDNA. In the investigation of cases that have gone unsolved for many years, mtDNA is extremely valuable. All mothers have the same mitochondrial DNA as their offspring. This is because the mitochondria of each new embryo comes from the mother's egg cell. The father's sperm contributes only nuclear DNA. Comparing the mtDNA profile of unidentified remains with the profile of a potential maternal relative can be an important technique in missing-person investigations.


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/4/2010 2:39:22 PM , Rating: 3
" They don't use Mitochondrial DNA for criminal forensics except in very extreme cases."

They don't use it except when the sample is degraded...essentially what I said. They still use it, though:
quote:
In the investigation of cases that have gone unsolved for many years, mtDNA is extremely valuable
In the rash of cold-case reinvestigations that were brought about by DNA evidence, a substantial portion of those used mtDNA. For newer cases, yes, its not used much at all.


RE: Whatever
By MatthiasF on 3/5/2010 6:25:15 AM , Rating: 2
They don't use mtDNA for criminal investigations. It's only used for verifying the identity of bodies and doing CALIBRATIONS when samples are degraded. It's not actually used for direct comparison.

Mitochondrial DNA similarities can be shared amongst all siblings in a family, inherited from the mother, and in some cases even can present similarities in first cousins.

Because of this it's not used in criminal cases. Which is what I SAID, whereas you alter your argument as you see fit.


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 8:58:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, that isn't true at all. The link to the criminal conviction I gave above was obtained through mtDNA. The second link I gave you earlier specified that mtDNA is used in criminal cases:

quote:
Mitochondrial DNA analysis (mtDNA) can be used to examine the DNA from samples that cannot be analyzed by RFLP or STR... In the investigation of cases that have gone unsolved for many years, mtDNA is extremely valuable.
http://www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome...

The FBI and many states even have their own mitochondrial DNA units. The below is taken from NJ's mtDNA lab:

quote:
The Mitochondrial DNA Unit began analyzing biological samples for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the fall of 2005. Two general categories of casework are accepted: criminal and missing persons/unidentified human remains. Typically, mtDNA analysis is utilized for those specimens where the quality and/or quantity of DNA are insufficient for nuclear DNA analysis (e.g., hair, bones, and teeth)...

Suppose that a kidnapping victim is missing but a bloodstain is found in the suspect’s vehicle and only a maternal relative’s (e.g., mother, sibling) reference sample is available for the victim. In that case, mtDNA analysis could be conducted using a portion of the vehicle bloodstain, the maternal relative’s reference sample, and the suspect’s reference sample...
http://www.state.nj.us/njsp/divorg/invest/dna-lab....


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 10:02:35 AM , Rating: 2
Some more on the use of mitochondrial DNA, from Forensics Magazine:

quote:
The first mitochondrial DNA analysis that aided in a criminal conviction involved a suspect charged with the 1996 rape and murder of a young child in Tennessee. Since then, hundreds of cases have been examined using mitochondrial DNA analysis, and dozens have successfully been tried in the courtroom. A sizeable body of peer-reviewed scientific literature on forensic mitochondrial DNA analysis is available, and courtroom admissibility hearings have uniformly allowed its introduction worldwide .
http://www.forensicmag.com/articles.asp?pid=271


RE: Whatever
By MatthiasF on 3/6/2010 5:07:07 AM , Rating: 2
Hundreds of cases out of hundreds of thousands of other cases using DNA evidence over the last 23 years seems like extreme cases to me. Let me explain.

100,000s
100s <-- extreme


RE: Whatever
By thepalinator on 3/6/2010 5:25:05 AM , Rating: 2
You first said, "Mitochondrial DNA is not used for criminal forensics". sounds like your just trying to cover yourself now.

Also i don't think we've had anywhere near hundreds of thousands of criminal dna cases. it's used in less than 1% of all felony cases.


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/4/2010 8:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and to correct your other error, these new findings don't just increase the risk of false negatives, they increase the risk of false positives as well.

This means that both the following statements are true:

- An mtDNA match result is less likely to mean the samples came from the same person
- A failed mtDNA match result is less likely to mean the samples came from different people.


RE: Whatever
By MatthiasF on 3/5/2010 6:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
No. Simple logic.

If the mtDNA from one cell from an individual is now found to be less likely to be similar to another cell from THE SAME INDIVIDUAL, it's even more unlikely that mtDNA will match another person if similarities are found because the second individual has the increased randomness too.

It's compounded, get it? What was once 1:4 went 0.25:16.


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 10:21:05 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry Mathias, this couldn't be more wrong. There are two factors involved here. Let me explain.

First of all, the team found that intrapersonal mtDNA variation (within the same individual) was much wider than once that. That increases the risk of false negatives: if you fail to get a match, you could simply have a differing sample of mtDNA. Follow so far?

Secondly, because of the vastly increased heteroplasmy within an individual, it means each person has a much larger subset of the total mtDNA universe within them. Statistically, that increases the risk of false positives: the chance of any two peoople sharing a single mtDNA match rises.

To explain via analogy, imagine a jar of 2,000 marbles, each of which has a number written on it from 1 to 1,000 (each number is shared by two different marbles). Two people pull a random marble from the jar. The chances of them both pulling the same number are very low (1:1999).

Now imagine instead both of them pull 3 marbles from the jar. What are the chances of them having at least one marble in common between them? The chances aren't just 3 times higher, they're slightly more than NINE times higher.


RE: Whatever
By jRaskell on 3/5/2010 11:35:50 AM , Rating: 2
Your analogy is flawed because in the second scenario you are talking about comparing ALL samples between both people looking for only a single match. That just doesn't happen. They can both pick 3 marbles from the jar, but the chances that a single comparison of one of the marbles each of them picks is a match is still 1:1999.

If there were multiple tissue samples available for DNA sampling in a given case (unlikely in any case that would have to fall back to mtDNA testing), I have no doubt that the defense lawyer would require ALL samples be tested. So the question then becomes do ALL samples match? In that scenario, the chances of complete false positives are far far far lower, because if even ONE sample does not match, that becomes a key piece of defense evidence for reasonable doubt.


RE: Whatever
By porkpie on 3/5/2010 11:45:01 AM , Rating: 2
No, because a single sample contains multiple nucleotides. A positive hit merely means you've matched a sufficient number of markers (marbles) from the original source.

The researchers who authored this study conclude that the rate of false negatives *and* positives rise as a result. If you don't want to believe me, believe them.


RE: Whatever
By MatthiasF on 3/6/2010 5:09:59 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Whatever
By jnolen on 3/4/2010 8:18:42 PM , Rating: 3
You're off on what mitochondria are. They're organelles within eukaryotic cells that are responsible for breaking down food into energy, called ATP, not single-celled organisms.


RE: Whatever
By Kurz on 3/5/2010 10:02:59 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the fact Mitochondria has its own DNA doesn't mean they are our organs. They are most likely from back in the day when it was beneficial for them to live with eukaryotic cells.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endosymbiotic

Mitochondria evolved with eukaryotic cells to where we are today. So yes they can be considered a seperate organism.
They have their own dna which is an indication of them being a seperate entity.


RE: Whatever
By captainentropy on 3/5/2010 3:43:34 AM , Rating: 3
what? you're way off. Mitochondria are NOT organisms. They are organelles. And forensics only uses mtDNA when nuclear DNA is not available (such as you could get from a cheek swab or blood sample) or when the sample is really old. In old samples the nuclear DNA is more likely to be severely degraded than mtDNA.


RE: Whatever
By captainentropy on 3/5/2010 3:49:40 AM , Rating: 2
hahaha, I guess I should read other replies first before posting :p I said nothing new. Sorry.


RE: Whatever
By drycrust3 on 3/6/2010 2:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
but there is very little variation within mDNA to begin with since there just aren't that many genes in the little DNA ring


What you've said is my understanding also, that not only is there very little variation, but that this "very little variation" remains present for generations, which is why I can't understand it even being used in a crime investigation.
Since the use of DNA analysis to distinguish or compare one set of DNA found at a crime scene with another set is based upon proving uniqueness, then surely one would expect a type of DNA that becomes unique at the time of conception to be used in preference to a type that had it's last lot of variation 500 years ago (or whenever it was).
One would expect mDNA to be used by historians and anthropologists and the like and the like to study things like migratory patterns and things like that.

There was an episode of CSI where a man was being executed at jail when a court order staying the execution arrived, so they had to revive the guy and put him in the prison hospital while the CSI folks checked all the forensic evidence, and surprise surprise, the conviction was based upon on mDNA, and super surprise surprise it was indeed a match and ... yep ... the guy went back to the execution chamber and this time there was no reprieve.
While that is probably fictional, if it was based upon a real event then what I can't understand is why the guys lawyers even let the jury even accept this as being creditable. All they had to do was show the family tree for the last 100 years to show that mDNA isn't unique to their client. It also raises questions on why the script writers chose mDNA analysis instead of the regular type.


limited sources
By twhittet on 3/4/2010 10:34:45 AM , Rating: 4
Ok, so it differs in different parts of the body - that's fine. Since when do murderers and rapists leave chunks of their own livers and kidneys lying around? Your epithelial cells are most likely similar. Same way with other "DNA" that is often left at crimes. I'm thinking this is a non-issue.




RE: limited sources
By invidious on 3/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: limited sources
By Joey B on 3/4/2010 11:03:07 AM , Rating: 4
"Guilty beyond all reasonable doubt" is "most likely guilty".


RE: limited sources
By porkpie on 3/4/2010 2:03:24 PM , Rating: 3
No. "Most likely" is the standard that applies in civil case... a "preponderance of the evidence". More than likely not.

In criminal cases, a much more stringent standard applies.


RE: limited sources
By MrPoletski on 3/5/2010 5:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
"Guilty beyond all reasonable doubt" is "guilty".

FTFY


RE: limited sources
By drycrust3 on 3/6/2010 11:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
But is it reasonable doubt when you share the same mDNA as about 1000 people in your part of the city?


RE: limited sources
By Jakeisbest on 3/10/2010 4:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
I certainly hope you have not served on a jury if that is your interpretation.


RE: limited sources
By MozeeToby on 3/4/2010 11:10:17 AM , Rating: 2
"Most likely guilty" is exactly what "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" is, maybe a little less stingent but no one can claim our system is that we've never executed an innocent person. It's happened before, at least 8 times and possibly as many as 40+.


RE: limited sources
By Camikazi on 3/4/2010 11:29:51 AM , Rating: 2
True is pretty much is a non issue, but I can guarantee there will be lawyers trying to make it out to be more then it is to get their clients out of jail.


RE: limited sources
By bhieb on 3/4/2010 12:59:38 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
lawyers trying to make it out to be more then it is to get their clients out of jail.

As is their duty, even court appointed ones have an obligation to use all tools necessary.


The name
By ClownPuncher on 3/4/2010 11:22:59 AM , Rating: 2
Ins't it Johns Hopkins?




RE: The name
By johnsonx on 3/4/2010 12:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
yes, it is, everyone knows that. That may seem like a simple mistake, but it ought to be IMPOSSIBLE to type "John Hopkins" without alarm bells going off in your head.


RE: The name
By iFX on 3/4/2010 1:57:11 PM , Rating: 3
The amazing part is the real article Mick copied and pasted from spelled the name correctly. How do you screw up a copy/paste?


RE: The name
By iFX on 3/4/2010 1:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed, the actual name of the school is Johns Hopkins University.


RE: The name
By fboone1 on 3/4/2010 6:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the dude's name was Johns. I go to Hopkins, and if I had a nickel for every time someone mispronounced/misspelled the name I'd......be a little less of a poor college student?

We even sell t-shirts saying JohnSSSSSS Hopkins


RE: The name
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/4/2010 6:46:58 PM , Rating: 3
Did Johns have a split or multi-able personality?? Of course if Johns owned something then it would be Johns's. Someone needs to go back in time and just smack Johns's Mom and Dad.

It is a good school but that just not right.


If it matches
By nafhan on 3/4/2010 10:54:45 AM , Rating: 2
Even in light of these findings, aren't the chances of mDNA from a crime scene and a random innocent person matching extremely low? It seems like this would have more of an impact on cases where people were proved innocent by DNA evidence. In other words, it sounds like this would be more likely to let the guilty go free than convict the innocent.




RE: If it matches
By d3872 on 3/4/2010 12:50:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Even in light of these findings, aren't the chances of mDNA from a crime scene and a random innocent person matching extremely low?


It depends. Do I have to choose the random person first and then check for a DNA match, or do I get to peruse a database containing the mDNA of millions of individuals before picking my "random" person?


RE: If it matches
By rudy on 3/4/2010 1:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Which is what the US criminal justice system is designed to do anyway. Let more guilty people go than convict innocent people.


RE: If it matches
By nafhan on 3/4/2010 4:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
That and keep a lot of people in prison over relatively minor offenses. After all, they've got to keep their funding up somehow...


The world ends today
By bug77 on 3/4/2010 10:49:39 AM , Rating: 5
Forget about appeals and retrials. Just imagine how many CSI episodes will have to be revised!




Johns Hopkins
By SuckRaven on 3/4/2010 3:28:22 PM , Rating: 2
It says John Hopkins in the title of the article. It should say Johns Hopkins.




Whatever
By frozentundra123456 on 3/4/2010 4:46:24 PM , Rating: 2
Visual is correct. Mitochondria are not cells of themselves, they are found within the cell of an organism. (Just a clarification.)

I work in a lab that has isolated mitochondria and studied their metabolism in a cell that measures their oxygen consumption. However, I dont really know that much about the variability of DNA in mito from one organ to another.

It seems to me the article is rather meaningless without some statistics about the possibility of false positives and false negatives.
I would have a hard time judging someone guilty of a crime by DNA alone or even by fingerprints. Can we really be absolutely sure no two people have the same DNA sequence or even fingerprint pattern?? I think this would have to be a part of the evidence, but not all of it.
(Yes, I know fingerprints are accepted as being unique, but you cant be absolutely sure of this unless you fingerprint everybody and compare all of them.)




BS
By icanhascpu on 3/5/2010 7:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
More sensationalist BS from mick.

The fact that DNA, and science in general continually becomes more accurate does not render the last version "faulty"; simply less accurate.

The fact that this pseudo-journalist cant even get John S Hopkins correct in his own foolishly named title is testimony to his lack of credibility.




Makes you wonder
By JediJeb on 3/4/2010 12:05:58 PM , Rating: 1
Mitocondria, Midiclorians, hmmmm I wonder if Lucas new about this.




How many of these
By straycat74 on 3/4/2010 12:10:11 PM , Rating: 1
"mitochondria" do I need to be able to lift objects with my mind or choke someone out by just a raise of my hand?




I will refrain from comment
By Cobra Commander on 3/4/10, Rating: 0
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 3/4/2010 6:50:59 PM , Rating: 1
Too late you spoke already and we all suffered the loss of several I.Q. points for this reason. Now, had you only kept your thought to yourself on this and really made no comment then world would be that much better off....

Have a nice day.


Just one more reason
By JonnyDough on 3/6/10, Rating: 0
We Already Know the Outcome
By mindless1 on 3/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: We Already Know the Outcome
By mindless1 on 3/5/2010 7:43:01 PM , Rating: 1
Hmm. It seems my prior post is merely unpopular to those who want justice to prevail (me too!), since nobody seems to have significant precedent that disagrees.

THAT is the direction I've seen the government move towards. Those in power want a simple supposedly failsafe method of determining guilt, or to at least uphold the idea that justice is served in our courts despite constant evidence that it is not.

On a side note, in a town near mine a doctor was recently charged with assault for knocking a woman to the ground and stabbing her through the chest multiple times before having the sword wrestled away by a 3rd party. If he is guilty is that justice, or is it an attempted murderer who was only charged, let alone what he's eventually convicted of, with nothing more severe than assault?


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