Skip main navigation

Final wrap-up

Ensuring the reliability of your DNA results


This week has been a great opportunity to learn about the techniques forensic scientists use to examine evidence – ranging from the humble microscope to the most recent DNA analysis. We’ve covered – Presumptive analysis – DNA profiling – Matching and forensic DNA intelligence

Forensic DNA analysis is an incredibly useful tool during criminal investigations, but great care has to be taken to ensure that the results obtained are correct. As you’ve been reminded throughout the videos this week, anti-contamination and safe working practices are two essential aspects of this process.

During the shooting of these videos, it was not possible to film in our low-level DNA forensic casework laboratories for obvious reasons (having a film crew traipsing around is not good for the smooth running of the laboratory or for cleanliness), so most videos were shot in either research or teaching laboratories.

While all aspects of the procedures were carried out to show a close approximation of the actual processes used, at various points there were clues left to highlight areas where contamination could occur – how closely were you looking and how many did you spot? What risks could these bring to a sensitive process like DNA profiling?

You’re already half way through the course! Well done, and enjoy the coming week, which is all about the chemistry of forensics.

This article is from the free online

The Science Behind Forensic Science

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education