Eric Lander

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Lander On DNA Testing, Murder In The Bronx And Evidence As “Schmutz”

Eric S. Lander, the famed Broad Institute geneticist and intro biology teacher at MIT, knows how to tell a good story. (A Brooklynite, he describes murky x-rays as “schmutz” and says acting as an expert witness in a murder trial is something he needs “like a hole in the head.”)

Eric Lander, geneticist and great storyteller (Photo: The Aspen Institute/flickr)

Ultimately, though, Lander caves and does testify at the murder trial. (The years-old trial was held at the Bronx criminal courthouse, in the courtroom of TV Judge Judy’s husband.)

Here, on The Moth radio in conjunction with The World Science Festival, Lander tells the story of the trial and also the origins of forensic DNA evidence. (His testimony was so central, in fact, that he was flooded with more requests, including from Judge Lance Ito who asked him to testify at the O.J. trial. He declined.) There’s a great trail from Lander’s testimony in the Bronx to The Innocence Project, which works to free imprisoned Americans wrongly convicted of murder.

You’ll love it. Listen here; it’s Segment 3.