Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Closing in on a Killer?

PostedMay 1, 2004

Download File (mp3)

The specific technologies used are being withheld, but it clearly involves a DNA analysis and mapping race unprecedented for a criminal case.  DNA from the 2001 anthrax mailings has already been completely sequenced.  Anthrax DNA data from as many as twenty locations reportedly is being spun through computers in the hope of finding a match.  But this isn't as easy as the DNA fingerprinting now routinely accepted in courtrooms.  Certain portions of human DNA vary widely between individuals, making a match easy to spot.  DNA within anthrax strains barely differs at all.  Biologist Timothy Read says to have any hope, the entire genome of any suspect anthrax spore needs to be mapped.  Newly developed genetic engineering tools may then spot a match, but they'll also have to be accepted in court.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.