Rethinking DNA Acquittals

So every year you hear about people that are freed from prison because of DNA evidence. So here’s the question, if we know that DNA changes over time, is it possible that we are letting guilty people off the hook?

So, I’m not saying that we need to stop using DNA evidence. A match is still a match. But the person that’s been on death row for 20 years, who already admitted to the crime, I would say let’s hold on a second before letting him go. Unless you’re letting him go based on the fact that he’s changed so much in prison that the new individual is actually innocent. If your intent is to keep the guilty man locked up, you need to think critically about this test. We know about epigenetics, and your DNA definitely changes over time. So who is to say that your DNA now would match that of you 20 years ago?

This astronaut’s DNA changed 7% while he was in space. The company that did the testing was quick to explain by saying that his DNA didn’t change, just his gene expression. Which obviously begs the question, what is gene expression? I don’t have a business model based on this being true, so I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit. Like it or not, your genes are changing.

We’ve already talked a bunch about epigenetics. Science knows that the environment effects people, it just really can’t explain why yet.

Here’s your smoking gun. Identical twins with different DNA. Why is that a big deal? Because we know that they start with the same DNA. Otherwise, why would they call them identical? On a cellular level, they start from the same cell.

So, if identical twins don’t have the same DNA, how could you expect me to have the same DNA as I did when I was 12. I don’t.

Logically following, the man that has been locked up for 20 years for a murder that he committed, likely changed a great deal in prison. So think twice before you set him free based solely on his new DNA test.

Sources:

  1. http://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/dna/how.html
  2. https://mashable.com/2018/03/15/scott-kelly-dna-changed-nasa-year-space/#wUoe1WrIpgqw
  3. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-twins-study-investigators-to-release-integrated-paper-in-2018
  4. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00496613
  5. https://www.l2law.com/blog/2017/03/4-ways-paternity-test-results-can-be-wrong.shtml
  6. https://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/shes-twin/story?id=2315693
  7. https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/dna-is-constantly-changing-through-the-process-6524898