Dissolving boundaries, fostering dependencies. The new forensic genetics assemblage

Matthias Wienroth*, Rafaela Granja

*Corresponding author for this work

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A key aspect of legitimising the use of forensic genetics in policing has been that standard biomarkers on the genome used for investigative analysis can only help compare and match two or more profiles, but not attribute personal information – such as health, ancestry, or “lifestyle” – to each. A significant amount of policing legislation and codes of criminal proceedings in European jurisdictions have been based on this assumption. New and emerging technologies, i.e., massive parallel sequencing, forensic epigenetics, forensic DNA phenotyping, and forensic genetic genealogy, challenge this basis. In this article, we analyse how the compounding, interdependent effects of these technologies facilitate the dissolving of boundaries between forensic and medical, as well as between commercial and non-commercial domains. Mobilizing social epistemology and epistemic culture as dual analytical lens, we argue that we can witness the emergence of an increasingly complex forensic genetics assemblage, fostering dependencies between policing agencies, research scientists, and commercial companies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Mar 2024

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