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Tree DNA Helps Secure Conviction of a Lumber Thief

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2021-07-22 14:12:59

       While fighting wildfires in the Washington Olympic National Forest, officials noticed some of the maple trees had been illegally cut down. It bring about investigations and charges. In the end, modern science such as DNA proof has to be used to help solve the case.  

        The DNA did not belong to the suspect, but to the surrounding trees. Prosecutors said the defendant and his accomplices brought the maple tree to sell to local sawmills. But the defendants claimed that the trees were legally sourced elsewhere and had valid permits.          

        The prosecutor's office assigned a research geneticist at the Royal Forest Department. It was proved that the trees in the case were genetically identical to the rest of the forest reserves. The probability of this DNA matching is only 1 in 1 decilian.         

         It was also found that forest fires occurred caused by the burning of the wasp's nest of the accused as well.          

         The jury found the defendant guilty of theft of public property and illegal timber trade but because there were no eyewitnesses at the time of the fire. He was therefore not found guilty of such charges. 

https://www.mentalfloss.com/.../tree-dna-helps-secure... 

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