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Forensic science and environmental offences: litter, DNA analysis and surveillance


Oosthuizen, T and Howes, LM and White, R, Forensic science and environmental offences: litter, DNA analysis and surveillance, Forensic Science International: Animals and Environments, 2, (100042) pp. 1-7. ISSN 2666-9374 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.fsiae.2022.100042


Items of litter such as chewing gum, cigarette butts, and dog droppings are each small but collectively have considerable negative environmental impacts. Accordingly, governments at all levels have used media campaigns to raise awareness of the environmental issues associated with litter in efforts to prevent its proliferation. In a similar vein, artists have developed thought-provoking works about waste and litter, including some about the potential to identify litter culprits through DNA analysis. In a case of life imitating art, recent advances in DNA analysis techniques make possible a range of ways in which DNA taken from litter could be used, including for purposes of social regulation. This article discusses examples of the use of litter as a source of DNA for analysis and the resulting genetic surveillance. In doing so, it raises questions about proportionality and justifications for such uses of DNA analysis techniques in regard to regulation and enforcement objectives, with particular concerns about permissions, privacy and the public interest.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:litter, environmental harm, forensic DNA analysis, DNA phenotyping, surveillance
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Crime and social justice
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Civil justice
UTAS Author:Oosthuizen, T (Mrs Tersia Oosthuizen)
UTAS Author:Howes, LM (Dr Loene Howes)
UTAS Author:White, R (Professor Rob White)
ID Code:150125
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2022-05-26
Last Modified:2022-05-27

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