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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
Minerva Medicolegale 2001 March;121(1): 53-68
Genetic identification in criminal cases. The European DNA Laws
Robino C., Siragusa R., Vasino V., Gino S.
The development of modern molecular biology techniques revolutionized the activity of forensic laboratories, providing new powerful tools for paternity testing and identification of body fluids and human remains in criminal cases. The admission of genetic tests in the Criminal Courts often required the creation of specific regulations in order to integrate the Codes of Criminal Procedure in force. It is evident, however, that legislative adjustments occurred tumultuously ‹ as tumultuos was the advent of forensic DNA technology ‹ though not so swiftly. In giving an outline of the European situation, it is possible to find considerable normative discrepancies, if not lack of regulations, which are manifest in the Italian Law. The article presents an overview of the European DNA Laws in criminal cases and outlines the legislative development in Italy in this regard, together with the ethical and legal debate. Special attention was paid to the much-discussed problem of national DNA databases for offender identification, currently in operation or in preparation in many European countries.