n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - An overview of the use of DNA evidence in South African criminal courts

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



DNA evidence differs from other forensic evidence in that it developed in the scientific arena and not with the exclusive objective of being used for identification and detection of criminal perpetrators. In order to understand the forensic significance of DNA evidence in South Africa today, this article explains different aspects of the use of DNA in criminal cases. The article explains the nature of DNA evidence and genes and their relationship to individuality. The technology of DNA analysis and its application to DNA profiling is described. The power of DNA as a forensic tool is evaluated by looking at the laboratory practices within the SAPS Biology laboratories. Interpretation of the data generated is discussed as well as potential future developments of the forensic use of DNA.

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