Tracing the ‘Messy’ History of Forensic DNA Analysis in Canada

Andrea Quinlan


This paper explores the history of scientific controversy surrounding forensic DNA analysis in the Canadian legal system. It focuses on DNA analysis and its introduction to legal cases of sexual assault. Drawing on Actor-Network Theory, this paper explores the scientific and legal controversies that proceeded the ‘black boxing’ of DNA analysis in the medicolegal system. This paper begins by outlining some the important contributors to the invention of DNA analysis and the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK), a tool involved in collecting forensic DNA evidence. It then traces critiques from feminists, legal professionals, and scientists, who all raised objections to the introduction of forensic DNA analysis. The paper concludes by considering whether forensic DNA evidence has been successfully ‘black boxed’ in the Canadian medicolegal system.

Key words: DNA Analysis; Actor-Network Theory; Canadian legal system


DNA Analysis; Actor-Network Theory; Canadian legal system

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