View Full Version : DNA Testing in 1980s France?

03-29-2016, 03:59 AM
My story is set in October 1988 (Paris) so DNA profiling was just getting started from what I've read. I would like to know if it would be probable that the detectives in my story would have this technology available or if it may have not been widespread yet?

It doesn't break my story either way whether it's available or not. It just would seem foolish if they didn't use the technology if it is indeed available to them.

Also, the sample is from the saliva of the deceased victim. Her lipstick is smudged from a kiss just before she was killed.

King Neptune
03-29-2016, 04:57 AM
I don't know the answer for sure, but, as you know, it was new technology then, so it probably was not readily available. They might need a court order, because now DNA paternity tests are only allowed with court orders. When that was enacted, I do not know. As a research project they might have been able to team up with a university, but that's just throwing something out there.

03-29-2016, 06:17 AM
I believe the original forensic DNA testing needed a fairly large amount of DNA, as well. It's not clear to me if the scene as you described would yield a high quality DNA sample. I suspect you're pretty safe leaving it out.

03-29-2016, 05:27 PM
Thanks for the replies. I will leave it out then, not only does it simplify things but also it will keep things more mysterious regarding the suspects.

Dave Williams
04-01-2016, 12:11 AM
In the USA in 1995 it was new enough that each court made its own decision about whether it was acceptible. And it took months for the results to come back from the lab. And if I remember right, you were looking at around $10K of 1995 dollars, too. (I did a quick web search to try to verify that and didn't come up with anything; if someone comes up with something better than my memory, please post a link)

A link at forensicmag.com says the first use of DNA evidence in court was in England in 1986, in the USA in 1987, and the first DNA-based conviction in the USA in 1989.

Granted that the French pretty much invented forensic police work, I'd say that 1988 would be a close-enough-for-fiction handwave, and even then, it would have to be a very high profile case given the cost.