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DNA tests to replace fingerprinting by 2004

DNA fingerprinting is thought to be foolproof

(Keystone)

Traditional fingerprinting of criminals is to be replaced by DNA tests within four years. The cabinet approved the move on Thursday, saying DNA was a much more reliable method of identifying suspects.

Under the new system, a database of DNA profiles is to be set up to assist police in tracking down suspects.

The database will contain genetic information about convicted criminals, enabling police to establish whether a particular person was present at the scene of a crime.

Announcing the decision, the justice ministry said the system had been operating on an experimental basis since July 1.

It added that traditional fingerprinting techniques would continue to be used alongside the DNA database until 2004, when fingerprinting would be dropped.

The cabinet said DNA identification left no room for error because every individual, except identical twins, has a unique DNA profile.

swissinfo with agencies

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