Virtually the whole of Malaysia is now talking about DNA. DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) has become a buzz word, featuring in conversations at coffee shops; offices and even our august parliament.
We must thank Crick and Watson who discovered the double stranded helical structure of the DNA molecule in 1954 which has since unleashed a plethora of advances in biotechnology. Forensic DNA is one of the many breakthroughs in this research in an impassioned endeavor towards advancing justice through DNA technology.
Justice and fairness should instead be the buzz word of the rakyat, the parliament , political leadership and the impartial media. This unfortunately is a far cry considering the various statements issued and the nuances of the mainstream media. Overnight, a handful of parliamentarians have turned pseudo-geneticists, shouting for surrender of DNA material ! Some have even sentenced the alleged assailant an unequivocal guilty verdict!
Beginning with the end, it is important to emphasize upfront that with all of the available DNA techniques, conviction cannot be based on DNA evidence ALONE if there are a host of other conflicting and non-corroborative evidence. For example, if a victim claimed rape in a condominium in KL whilst the accused was addressing a seminar in Singapore at the material time, no amount of DNA recovered at the crime scene is going to make any difference.
We hope this would moderate the DNA mania which is incessantly hyped, the latest by the father of the alleged victim.
Notwithstanding, what is worrying from the hypothetical case scenario is, how DNA of the alleged assailant got into the condominium. In the language of forensic medicine, there is an outright breach of the chain of custody in this hypothetical case.