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January 20, 1995 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-20

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 20, 1995

DNA test inventor will
testify at Simpson trial


The Nobel Prize-winning chem-
ist who invented the DNA tests at
the heart of the case reportedly has
agreed to testify at the trial that he
would not rely on the tiny bloody
samples collected as solid proof of
anyone's guilt.
Kary Mullis of San Diego says his
DNA invention is so sensitive that the
smallest contaminants can throw test
results wildly out of whack.
Mullis' credentials as inventor of
the DNA test might take the sting out
of the most damaging physical evi-
dence in the case: the blood found on
the rug of Simpson's Bronco that has
been linked by the Mullis DNA tests
to both Nicole Brown Simpson and
Ronald Goldman. In addition, a sock
in O.J. Simpson's bedroom was found
to contain blood consistent with
Nicole Simpson's.
"I have big problems with using
these tests in criminal cases," Mullis
said in an interview last year before
the Simpson murders. "Even people
who work it in laboratories have got-
ten crazy results."
Sources say thatMullis has agreed
to testify for the defense and will
explain why his invention should not
be relied on with so much at stake. He
could not be reached for comment
yesterday, but he explained his think-
ing during discussions last year with
this writer.
Mullis - who has pretty much
quit doing scientific research to de-
vote full time to surfing and guitar-
playing - is regarded even by his
critics as a first-rate biochemist. His
invention of the DNA test known as
the polymerase chain reaction, or
PCR, has changed modern science. It
allows laboratories to work with frag-
Action Sports Wear
419 E. Liberty
2 Blocks off of

ments of DNA and make billions of
copies, whether from dinosaur fos-
sils, brand-new human embryos or
crime-scene evidence.
In crime cases, the Mullis PCR
test often is used when the evidence is
too old or degraded to produce the so-
called DNA fingerprint.
For identifying a criminal, the
best results come from DNA finger-
printing, but it can be done only
with big amounts of blood or semen
that have not been ravaged by bac-
teria. Despite many news reports,
very little of the evidence against
Simpson actually involves the fin-
gerprint technique.
So far, the only known DNA fin-
gerprints were made from the trail of
blood drops leaving the bodies. They
match Simpson's. (The defense will
explain this by saying that he was a
regular visitor to his children and
could have cut himself playing with
But only microscopic specks of
blood were found in the Bronco and
on the sock in Simpson's bedroom.
So instead of DNA fingerprinting,
the prosecution had to use the Mullis
PCR test. In a few hours, a lab can
make a billion copies of a tiny DNA
"PCR is very sensitive," said
Mullis. "It is being overused in crimi-
nal cases, and I disagree with that."
The problem, says Mullis, is that
the PCR test could end up multiply-
ing a contaminant billions of times,
and thus completely disguise the DNA
of the actual evidence.
Continued from page I.
proposing to restructure the new fed-
eral aid for law enforcement in a man-
ner that would make it impossible for
the president to fulfill his signature
promise to add 100,000 police offic-
ers to the nation's streets.
"The sharpest points of conflict
will be over cops in the street and the
prevention programs," says Rep. Bill
McCollum (R-Fla.) who chairs the
House Judiciary Crime subcommit-
tee that will begin hearings on the bill
Even so, the biggest problem for
the GOP may be not the Democratic
opposition, but restraining the most
conservative elements of its own coa-
lition. Hoping to streamline action on
the legislation, Republican leaders say
they want to put off any effort to
repeal the ban on assault weapons
included in last year's crime bill.
But officials at the National Rifle
Association - whose campaign sup-
port was critical to the GOP gains last
fall - say they have no intention of
waiting. "Our priority is reversing the
gun ban that, was passed in the crime
bill," says Tanya K. Metaksa, chief
lobbyist for the NRA.

(Christian Reformed campus ministry)
1236 Washtenaw Ct. 668-7421/662-2402
(one block south of CCRB)
10 a.m.- "Ministry Within the University"
9-10:15 p.m. Meeting of
"The University Group"
Fun, food, provocative discussion
Rev. Don Postema, pastor
Ms. Lisa de Boer, ministry to students
530 W. Stadium
(across from Pioneer High School)
SUNDAY: Worship 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Bible Study 9:30 a.m.
WEDNESDAY: Bible Study 7 p.m.
Lord of Light Lutheran Church, ELCA
801 S. Forest (at Hill St.), 668-7622
SENDAYm Holy Communion 10 a.m.
WED:i Extreme Faith Study-Supper 6 pm
EEL Faith, Film and Fiction Series 7 pm
Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope"
all events FREE and open to public
C-- .T A. OV - C 1TTTT - -LT . n A T .-

Students walk out of the Michigan Union and into the rain yesterday.
Mexican'rebels seize.
airort, radio station

Los Angeles Times
MEXICO CITY - President
Ernesto Zedillo faced a critical test of
his promised new era of federalism
and reform yesterday after ruling party
leaders in the troubled southern state
of Tabasco seized an international
airport, a major radio station and most
roads leading to the state's capital. ,
The open rebellion against fed-
eral authority was spurred by rumors
that Zedillo and national party lead-
ers were negotiating the resignation
of the state's recently inaugurated
governor to defuse a post-election
conflict in the oil-rich state.
Thousands of Institutional
Revolutionary Party (PRI) loyalists,
many armed with torches and
wooden clubs, swarmed the
capitalVillahermosa to resist Gov.
Jorge Madrazo Pintado's dismissal.
The protests began Wednesday,
when the crowds paralyzed the
Continued from page 1
university next summer.
Fine has a stronginterest in the
war in Bosnia as
a scholar who re-
ate from the Uni-
versityofSarajevo -r
and taught in the
history depart-
ment there. He
said he is skepti-
cal of any peace- "
ful solutions in
the near future, Fine
however, because the peace treaties
proposed thus far are unacceptable.
"The current peace treaty (the Con-
tact Group Plan) is unjust because it
accepts the Serb definition of the con-
flict in ethnic terms," Fine said. "Any
just solution must begin by defining
the situation in non-ethnic terms."
Fine said the international com-
munity is responsible for pressuring
the Bosnian leadership to acceptpeace
plans based on ethnic divisions.

state's government, shuttered more
than half the state's businesses and
temporarily closed the airport.
In defiant radio broadcasts, state
PRI leaders also threatened to resign
en masse from the party that has ruled*
Mexico for the past 65 years if its
national leadership gives in to oppo-
sition demands that Madrazo resign
in exchange for peace.
Compounding the chaos were
continuing protests by the state's op-
position Democratic Revolutionary
Party, which claims Madrazo won
gubernatorial elections last Novem-
ber through ruling party fraud. Oppo
sition supporters have blockaded key
oil installations and the governor's
office since Madrazo's Dec. 31 inau-
Yesterday's dueling demonstra-
tions resulted in at least one injury
when an opposition legislator was
beaten by ruling party protesters.
Fine claims Bosnia is in a "Catch
22" because, although humanitarian
aid must continue to be supplied to
Bosnia's cities, any military inter-
vention on behalf of the Bosnian gov-
ernment would undoubtedly place the
24,000 U.N. troops presently in
Bosnia in harm's way.
Fine said as a result, Bosnia is left
vulnerable to the much better-
equipped Serb and Croat forces and
"the viscous situation continues." *
In addition to this project, Fine
will be participating in ceremonies on
Jan. 28 to commemorate the 1,000th
day of the siege ofSarajevo. Bosnians
hope these ceremonies will turn the
international spotlight on the devas-
tation caused by the war.
While in Sarajevo, Fine will also
be meeting with the director of
Sarajevo's now-destroyed library to
aid in the process of rebuilding.
Fine's newest book, "Bosnia and
Hercegovena: A Tradition Betrayed,"
co-authored by Robert Donia, was
published in the United States in Octo-
ber, and a Serbo-Croatian version will
be released in Bosnia during his visit.

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