South Africa’s DNA Project Launches Website

South Africa’s DNA Project Launches Website

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted June 30, 2007 in DNA Around the World, DNA and the Law

South Africa has a National DNA Criminal Intelligence Database that only stores samples collected from crime scenes and suspects. There is no “convicted offender database” such as the ones in the US and UK that additionally hold DNA from people who’ve been charged with a crime, convicted criminals, current prisoners, parolees, people on probation, and registered sex offenders. The reason given for the reluctance of South African law enforcement to collect DNA from convicted offenders is the “assault” experienced by a convicted offender when blood is drawn. Of course, now that it’s possible to collect DNA from a cheek swab or other less invasive means, this should no longer be a concern.

dna project logo

 According to the South African DNA Project, which launched its website earlier this month, DNA profiling in South Africa has been hampered by:

  • Insufficient DNA profiling equipment
  • Lack of funding
  • Embargos on processing crime stains and DNA profiles without a suspect
  • Inadequate laboratory capacity
  • Outdated information systems
  • Overwhelming caseloads
  • Lack of training

The DNA Project was established in 2004 after the murders of John Lynch and Leigh Matthews. Since then, the DNA Project has sought to raise funds, educate the public, increase awareness of forensic science, change legislation, and otherwise encourage the Forensic Science Labs. The DNA Project website is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the use of DNA in law enforcement. May they achieve their objectives to use DNA for solving crimes as well as deterring them.

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(3 comments)


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3 Comments

[...] testing is not just too expensive for citizens of Uganda. The South Africa DNA Project was founded to address this issue and to support forensics DNA testing. Maybe charitable [...]

 

[...] this attitude towards DNA testing, it’s no wonder that countries like South Africa are still struggling to establish DNA testing even for forensics [...]

 
Comment by debbie thorpe

A convited offenders database should be put into place in South Africa. The amount of murder and rape cases that hasn’t been solved is just umbelievable. My sister was murdered in January and 6 months on there is still no progress in this case due to awaiting DNA samples . How many more people could have been murdered in that time by the same person and nobody would even know. The lack of training is also a key factor.

 

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