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Viewers who watch police investigation shows on television often see intrepid experts solve crimes with the aid of a fingerprint on a doorknob or a strand of DNA from a hair miles from the crime scene. While the ease with which criminals are identified is exaggerated, the general picture is correct: Both DNA and fingerprints can help identify individuals through their unique markers—which means they can be useful tools both in identifying criminals and in clearing those who have been wrongly accused.

DNA determines each individual’s hereditary characteristics. Each person’s DNA is different and is found in each living cell. A hair, blood, skin or any part of the body can be used to identify and distinguish an individual from all other people. Therefore, DNA testing helps to prove one’s involvement or lack of involvement in a crime scene.