False DNA matches could be likely
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
The man who invented techniques for DNA fingerprinting has warned that the likelihood of a false match on the DNA database could be increasingly likely, writes Mike Lowe.
Sir Alec Jeffreys was asked by the Home Affairs Select Committee whether he recognised the Home Office figures of a one in a billion chance of a false match on the national DNA database. He replied: "I recognise it as a rather gross approximation.
Sir Alec explained that the odds of a false match are about a million times less likely than winning the national lottery. But, he added, someone wins the national lottery every week.
"I'm not a lawyer but I always understood that one of the great foundations of English law was a presumption of innocence. What we're seeing now is a presumption of future-possible-guiltyish-ness, but currently you may be innocent-ish. I find that a deeply worrying shift in the whole ethos of how the legal system operates," he concluded.