In my newsletter, I talk a lot about pop culture and crime fiction and how that has all actually impacting real life crime investigation. One of the challenges of writing crime fiction as a real detective is to acknowledge that impact without perpetuating it.

When I first began my policing career in the late ‘80’s, deoxyribonucleic acid profiling was brand new.


Deoxyribonucleic acid – DNA. See? Pop culture has so influenced crime fiction and our expectations of real crime investigation that most people don’t even consider what DNA actually is.

In any event, depending on your sources, the first time DNA profiling was used to solve a criminal case was either in 1986 in the UK, or 1987 in the US. Either way, we can thank Sir Alec Jeffreys. Apparently, one September morning in 1984, while puttering about in his lab (as genetic researchers do), he discovered some pretty unique, remarkable patterns in DNA that led him to consider how this could impact criminal investigations.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sir Alec and his work, this article is a good starting point.

And now, almost 35 years later, we talk about DNA as if it’s nothing.

How many times have we read crime fiction where the killer is caught based on a hair that was picked up off of a dog that walked by the homicide scene as the forensics team was….

Yeah. Not happening here.

Not in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series. Just so you know.

Real Crime. Fiction. Remember?

DNA and its impact on criminal investigations is absolutely fascinating stuff. I’m sure we’ll have a chance to revisit this in later blogs, and I look forward to discussing some of my experiences involving the collection of it with you.

Until next week, I’m 10-7 for shift.

Desmond Ryan – Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction

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