Posts Tagged ‘Forensics’

Super nose

June 24, 2011

Being an identical twin might seem like a great way to fool a DNA test and get away with the perfect crime. But furry forensic experts can make sure justice is served. In a new study, researchers instructed a group of children, including two sets of identical twins and two sets of fraternal twins, to swab the insides of their cheeks and place the swabs in glass jars. Working with ten police German shepherds and their handlers from the Czech Republic police, the researchers then ran a mock crime scene investigation.

The handler presented one twin’s scent to the dog and then told it to go find the matching scent in a lineup of seven jars, which included the other twin’s scent. In twelve trials per dog, none of them ever identified the wrong twin as a match. Learn more here.

Your blood can give away your age

November 30, 2010

It has been discovered that a drop of blood can provide a rough estimate of a person’s age, helping forensic investigators to draw physical profiles of suspects and victims who leave few other traces behind.

Conventional forensic DNA analysis matches samples gathered from crime scenes and compares them with suspects in an investigation or in a database. Increasingly, however, investigators are building physical profiles of individuals on the basis of their DNA alone. For instance, six genetic markers can indicate whether a person has blue or brown eyes.

Detectives using the test can narrow someone’s age to within nine years using tell-tale markers in their DNA.

The profiling technique even works on old dried bloodstains – and could shed light on unsolved ‘cold cases’ dating back decades. Read more here, here or here.

Leaving a Bacterial Fingerprint everywhere you touch

March 16, 2010

Forensic scientists use many tools to try and solve crimes. For example bloodstain pattern analysisDNA testingforensic dentistry, even forensic footwear examination and good old fingerprinting.

Now it has been found that people are clearly identifiable from the bacterial communities they transfer from their hands.

Our fingers are home to a unique collection of bacteria that get left on surfaces we touch. By comparing bugs found on a person’s hand to those recovered at a crime scene, forensic scientists might be able identify the perpetrator.

There are certain situations where human DNA analysis or standard fingerprinting doesn’t work, this might end up being just another forensic tool. Read more here or here.

Who dunnit?

May 24, 2008

Forensic scientists use many tools to try and solve crimes. For example bloodstain pattern analysis, DNA testing, forensic dentistry, even forensic footwear examination and good old fingerprinting.

A new fingerprinting technique has just been developed which is capable of identifying a killer’s faint fingerprints left on a corpse. The method makes use of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). This involves firing a laser beam at a material, allowing its composition to be identified from the wavelengths of light scattered. The scientists which developed the technique, are now trying to build a hand-held SERS scanner for use at crime scenes. Read more here.