John Buckleton and Jo-Anne Bright


STRMix - John Buckleton and Jo-Anne Bright

Up until a couple of years ago, when two or more people's DNA was mixed together in a single sample recovered by the police there is trouble. Not only has something criminal gone on (or something very naughty at least) but also the traditional methods of interpreting and matching DNA will not resolve the sample and match it with records held in the database. Any vague hints given by the interpretation will be too sketchy to stand up in court.

The DNA sample is useless and the perps will get away with it. ESR isn't quite CSI or the FBI, but their research and testing in all sorts of science underpins New Zealand's health and justice system. ESR scientists, based in their multi-storey building on the northern slopes of Auckland's Mt Albert, are the forensic DNA analysts for the NZ Police. ESR DNA scientist Jo-Anne Bright calls the situation where no DNA match can be made a 'stop', and prior to 2013 ESR had to report many DNA investigations as stops, also bringing stops to the police investigations, or at least hampering them greatly.

As Bright says 'It was quite hard to interpret in the olden days - the olden days being last year!'