Timeline of Selected Developments in or Affecting Forensic Genetics

From The Double Helix and the Law of Evidence, pp. 261-63 (corrections are welcome)

1900 Human ABO blood group discovered
1915 First antibody test (for ABO) developed
1924 Genetics of the ABO system elucidated
1930s ABO typing introduced in courts
1920s-1950s Other blood groups and serum proteins discovered
1953 Chemical structure of DNA described
1950s-1980s Electrophoresis for separating protein and DNA variants developed
1964 Test for HLA (tissue types) developed
1970 Restriction enzymes discovered
1975 Southern blotting developed
1977 DNA sequencing methods developed
1980 RFLP mapping described, first VNTR discovered
1970s-1980s HLA and extended red blood cell (RBC) testing used in courts
1980s Electrophoretic variants of red blood cell enzymes used in courts
1984 Multilocus VNTR probe discovered
1985 Multilocus VNTR profiling presented in an immigration proceeding in England (Sarbah)
PCR discovered
1986 Single-locus VNTR profiling used in a criminal investigation in England (Pitchfork)
PCR-DQA analysis admitted in an American case (Pestinikis)
1988 Single-locus VNTR profiling upheld in a Florida appellate court (Andrews)
First commercial kit for PCR-HLA, dot-blot, and oligonucleotide hybridization
First DNA databanking law enacted (Colorado)
1989 Single-locus VNTR profiling excluded in a New York trial court (Castro)
Lander testifies in Castro and publishes in Nature
First convict exonerated by DNA (US)
1991 Lewontin and Hartl testify in Yee and publish in Science
First useful polymorphic human STRs characterized
1992 First NRC report calls for improved QC and QA and presents the “ceiling principle”
First commercial forensic STR profiling kits developed
First Y-STR described, and used in casework (Germany)
First use of mtDNA in casework (UK)
1994 O.J. Simpson moves to exclude DNA evidence before his murder trial begins
“DNA Fingerprinting Dispute Laid to Rest” by Lander and Budowle in Nature
1995 O.J. Simpson withdraws motion to exclude DNA evidence
O.J. Simpson moves to exclude DNA evidence (again)
First national DNA databank for law enforcement established (UK)
1996 Second NRC report calls for improved QC and QA and rejects the ceiling methods
1997 STR profiling from touched objects and single cells demonstrated
1999 Tennessee appellate court upholds mtDNA testing (Ware)
2007 200th convict is exonerated by DNA testing (US)
2009 NRC report on strengthening forensic science presents DNA evidence as a model
Abbreviations
HLA – human leukocyte antigen
mtDNA – mitochondrial DNA
NRC – National Research Council
QA – quality assurance
QC – quality control
RFLP – restriction fragment length polymorphism
STR – short tandem repeat
VNTR – variable number tandem repeat