Whether you watch television or read newspapers, DNA is bantered about as the miracle crime solver. In some ways it is.
DNA is the genetic coding that is unique in every individual. It is the combination of genes that determines such things as the color of our hair and our eyes. Scientists can test the smallest fragment of the ladder-like DNA molecule to determine if a known suspect was at a crime scene. A tiny drop of blood, a sweaty cloth or a fragment of skin under a fingernail, may all contain the unique DNA of a suspect.
Newer technology like the fluorescent multiplex STR, allows Lake County Crime Laboratory scientists to find DNA strands in places never before visible. These modern tests can even decipher decades old samples that before could not be tested due to decomposition.
The Lake County Crime Laboratory is a member of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) maintained by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice. The federal partnership allows local DNA swabs to be matched against millions of samples taken from violent offenders all across the country. This allows Police to arrest criminals for committing a series of crimes, across several jurisdictions, after DNA is matched to a sample in the national data base.