Advancements in DNA testing helping solve more crimes

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Yesterday, we learned more details in the case of Corbin Breitenbach, the man accused of a brutal attack on a seven-year old girl.

KSN learned through the affidavit that DNA evidence played a crucial role in his arrest.

That affidavit states there is only a one in 107 octillion chance the DNA found wasn’t Breitenbach’s. Something that experts say shows how DNA can help identify suspect.

David Klamm is no stranger to processing crime scenes. He retired last year as a Senior Special Agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigations. He now is an Instructor and Coordinator for Wichita State University’s Forensic Science Program.

Klamm says DNA testing has continued to evolve over the past 20 to 25 years, becoming more important.

“If you get a good sample at a scene, you can many times get a profile that is high enough that it’ll eliminate, virtually down to that single person,” said Klamm.

The storage of the DNA is something that is just as important.

Klamm says samples have to be kept in the proper, dry environment so they don’t degrade. It’s something Klamm says plays a vital role, especially on cases that have gone cold for several years.

“If you have a good DNA and forensics to work into the case that supports the investigation found in the case, that speaks volumes,” said Klamm.

However, Klamm says DNA testing comes with several challenges.

“We need to be very very careful because in contamination type issues, because we are just looking, need to collect just a few cells,” said Klamm.

Since DNA testing and storage has continued to become the norm, Klamm says it has helped change how law enforcement investigates crime scenes.

“It presents a lot more potential evidence and potential findings,” said Klamm.

DNA is most famous for putting criminals behind bars, but it’s used for more than just that.

Archaeologists are keeping track of genetic codes and can track the progression of life on earth throughout the centuries. DNA is routinely used in paternity tests to determine a child’s parents and is also key in helping people search for ancestors. Through the use of prenatal genetic tests, doctors can find out if a unborn fetus will have health problems.


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