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A Novel DNA Kit Stands by Rape Victims

A professor of criminology worked with genome researchers to develop a DNA kit that allows female rape victims to collect traces of the rapist's genetic material as evidence even without a medical examination.

Why it matters. Five years ago, Lisa Smith came up with the idea of a trace DNA sample collection kit that can be used by women themselves after a rape incident. At that time, the professor of criminology, who conducts research and teaches at Leicester University in the UK, attended an international conference in London on sexual violence in conflict situations. Smith attended the conference to get to know the possible role played by forensics in this context. To her great astonishment, it was absolutely nothing – probably because of the assumption that it was impossible to collect DNA or other biological traces in such a precarious environment of war and violence.

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