Biotechnology and the

Biotechnology has also made important contributions to the field of law. Most notably, scientists have developed exquisitely sensitive methods for identifying DNA. Indeed, with the invention of the polymerase chain reaction in 1988, enough DNA can be extracted from a drop of blood, a tiny shred of skin, a single hair, or a small semen sample to identify the individual from whom it originated. Such "genetic fingerprinting" was developed in 1984 and first used in a trial in 1985.

Perhaps the most famous case involving DNA-based evidence was the O. J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. During the 1990s however, genetic evidence in the courtroom became commonplace and accepted by trial lawyers, judges, and juries alike. In fact, several innocent people were released from prison as a result of the reexamination of evidence using DNA fingerprinting.

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