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The “CSI-effect” May 3, 2010

Posted by Kyle in Genetics, Science & Culture.

I recently found an interesting news article addressing an issue stemming from some popular television shows. As you have probably noticed, it is almost impossible to flip through the channels and not find at least one cop drama. While these shows may be interesting, some people are apparently having trouble separating reality from television.  According to the Marion County Crime Lab, there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for DNA evidence in criminal cases. This has been referred to as the “CSI-effect.” While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it has created an increased work load for the crime lab technicians, by roughly fifty percent.

"CSI-effect" based on the popularized TV series

Unlike the shows on T.V., there isn’t always DNA found at a crime scene. Also, it just simply isn’t possible to test every square inch of every crime scene. This has created issues in criminal cases when jurors want DNA evidence, but there isn’t any. When jurors confuse reality and television, they can begin to have unrealistic expectations of investigators. However, the positive side is the increased work load for the crime lab has led to the identification of many suspects, who may have never been identified otherwise.

DNA testing of firearm

A more recent article reported that prisons will begin to use DNA testing to determine the owners of items such as weapons and cell phones confiscated. Officials hope that this new tool will help cut down on the amount of contraband in Indiana prisons. An Indianapolis based company, Forensic ID,  has been contracted to run the program. With the advancement of science and technology many things are now possible that sound like they are from a science fiction movie. It is hard to imagine what will be possible in a few hundred years from now.


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