Lab tries to distinguish twins' DNA

Sept. 2, 2004 at 3:31 PM
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DALLAS, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- A private lab in Dallas hopes to be the first to be able to differentiate between the DNA of identical twins to try to show which of the two committed a crime.

The lab, Orchid Cellmark, knows that while twins begin life with the same genetic profile there are mutations during development.

The goal is to find a way to tell the difference between the DNA of a pair of twins from Grand Rapids, Mich., USA Today reported. The DNA of both men matches a semen sample from a November 1999 rape that was committed by one man.

The experiment is being watched closely by authorities across the nation, Police in Virginia, Massachusetts and Texas have had a half-dozen such cases during the past two years, authorities say. Police in England have had several more.

Searching for tiny mutations in DNA is "a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack," says Robert Giles, Orchid Cellmark's director of U.S. operations.

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