How DNA Analysis Could Work In JonBenet Case


John Mark Karr likely will have new DNA samples taken in Boulder, Co., in the JonBenet Ramsey case, says the Denver Post. Karr waived extradition yesterday from Los Angeles. Lawrence Kobilinsky, professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said, “Clearly, if there’s a match, the game is over. It doesn’t prove he killed her, but it puts him on the spot, inside her panties.” Investigators in the killing of 6-year-old JonBenét at the Ramsey home in 1996 analyzed two blood spots found in her underwear, but DNA tests done in 1997 and 1999 only narrowed the genetic material to a male outside the Ramsey family.

Experts will compare 13 loci, or regions, in Karr’s sample with the existing profile from the blood drops. Even if only some of the regions match Karr’s sample, prosecutors still could proceed with a case. A 13-for-13 match is “essentially an absolute identification, even though it’s presented as a probability,” said Kobilinsky. “If they match 10 loci on the underwear, the significance is still overwhelming, astronomical.” If the samples reveal no matches, then “you have to ask why,” said Walter E. Goldstein the biotechnology center at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Shadow Lane Campus. “Because of instrument error? Was the sample mishandled? Do all peaks not match or some? You’ve got to go into the details.”


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