A Litigator's Guide to DNA

A Litigator's Guide to DNA

From the Laboratory to the Courtroom

1st Edition - January 31, 2008

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  • Authors: Ron Michaelis, Robert Flanders, Paula Wulff
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123740366
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080560403

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A Litigator's Guide to DNA educates both criminal law students and forensic science students about all aspects of the use of DNA evidence in criminal and civil trials. It includes discussions of the molecular biological basis for the tests, essential laboratory practices, probability theory and mathematical calculations, and issues relevant to the prosecution and the defense, and to the judge and jury hearing the case. The authors provide a full background on both the molecular biology and the mathematical theory behind forensic tests, describing the molecular biological process in simple mechanical terms that are familiar to everyone, and periodically emphasizing the practical, take-home messages the student truly needs to understand. Pedagogical elements such as Recapping the Main Point boxes and valuable ancillary material (Instructors' Manual, PowerPoint slides) make this an ideal text for professors.

Key Features

  • "Recapping the Main Point" boxes provide a simple and concise summary of the main points
  • Includes a glossary of essential terms and their definitions
  • Contains a full-color insert with illustrations that emphasize key concepts


Lawyers, judges, forensic scientists who offer expert testimony involving DNA evidence, students in forensic science and criminal justice programs

Table of Contents

  • The Structure of DNA and the Variability of the Human DNA Sequence; The Molecular Biological Basis of Forensic DNA Tests; Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Sources of Uncertainty in the Data; Population Genetics, Probability Calculations and the Proper Interpretation of the Evidence; Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Analyses; Y Chromosome Analyses; DNA in Court; Arguing for the Prosecution; Arguing for the Defense; Post-Conviction DNA Testing; Using the Chi Square Test to Determine if a Population Conforms to HWE Expectations; How the RMP, Prior Odds of Guilt, and the PFP Influence the Posterior Odds of Guilty (POG); Peternity Index (PI) Calculations for Different Combinations of Maternal, Child and Alleged Father Genotypes; Sample Consent Form; Doing Your Own Research: Useful References, Websites and Strategies for Finding Current Information

Product details

  • No. of pages: 448
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2008
  • Published: January 31, 2008
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123740366
  • eBook ISBN: 9780080560403

About the Authors

Ron Michaelis

Affiliations and Expertise

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, USA

Robert Flanders

Affiliations and Expertise

Distinguished Visiting Professor (2004-2005) and Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law (2005 to date), and Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Department of Law and Public Policy at Brown University (2004 to date).

Paula Wulff

Affiliations and Expertise

Program Manager-Senior Attorney, National District Attorneys Association/American Prosecutors Research Institute’s DNA Forensics Program

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