Research for the Hunt for Jack Reacher series is always fascinating, particularly when it involves things like forensics and DNA. Science is constantly evolving and new ways of using DNA evidence are making it harder to, well, get away with murder. In real life, that’s a good thing. For Kim Otto, it’s often essential.
Let’s say you’re investigating a crime scene, and the person you’re pretty sure is the perpetrator of the crime left behind DNA such as hair or a drop of blood or sweat. What happens next?
There are a series of easily stated but somewhat complicated steps involved. Simply put, it’s a four-part process:
1. Extract the DNA.
2. Analyze the DNA.
3. Run the sample through CODIS—Combined DNA Index System—to see if there is a match.
4. If there’s no match in CODIS, compare the results with the DNA sample of a suspect. If the two samples do not match, the individual would be eliminated as a suspect. Keep in mind that the DNA samples can match, but the suspect might not be guilty of the crime. That’s when additional evidence will be necessary.
But what do you do if there’s no match, and you’re back to square one? Kim Otto is faced with something similar in Bulletproof Jack. You can check out the blog post about it here.
DNA analysis fascinating, but it is only one tool in the forensic examiner’s tool belt. A more recent emerging technology is called forensic genetic DNA. Simply stated, it means that scientists can find the guilty by analyzing the DNA sample’s ancestry.
For example, a drop of blood might lead examiners to a specific person based on the genetic family tree of the suspect. This is how the Golden State Killer was eventually identified. This is also how the DNA Doe Project is identifying unidentified victims from cold cases.
How does all of this help Otto to find Reacher? I can’t wait for you to read Jack on a Wire to find out! Meanwhile, This article goes over the process much more thoroughly and is an interesting read!
Jack on a Wire releases March 12, 2024!
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