Forensics Help Throughout History

Anayah Patton, Student Journalist

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Throughout history there have been countless missing reports and due to advancement in forensic science some of those cases have been solved. Forensic science is the practical application of science to matter of the law and as time goes on advancements happen. The past decade has seen great advances in a powerful criminal justice tool: deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. DNA can be used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence exists. By the same token, DNA can be used to clear suspects and exonerate persons mistakenly accused or convicted of crimes. In all, DNA technology is increasingly vital to ensuring accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system. Forensic DNA analysis is rapidly evolving. Research and development of tools that will permit crime laboratories to conduct DNA analysis quickly is vital to the goal of improving the timely analysis of DNA samples. Smaller, faster, and less costly analysis tools will reduce capital investments for crime laboratories while increasing their capacity to process more cases. Over the course of the next several years, DNA research efforts will focus on the following areas like, the development of “DNA chip technology” that uses nanotechnology to improve both speed and resolution of DNA evidence analysis. This technology will reduce analysis time from several hours to several minutes and provide cost-effective miniaturized components. The development of more robust methods to enable more crime labs to have greater success in the analysis of degraded, old, or compromised items of biological evidence. Advanced applications of various DNA analysis methods, such as automated Short Tandem Repeats (STRs), Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs), mitochondrial DNA analysis (mtDNA), and Y-chromosome DNA analysis. The use of animal, plant, and microbial DNA to provide leads that may link DNA found on or near human perpetrators or victims to the actual perpetrator of the crime. Technologies that will enable DNA identification of vast numbers of samples occasioned by a mass disaster or mass fatality incident. Technologies that permit better separation of minute traces of male sexual assailant DNA from female victims. The cleverly named LABRADOR (Lightweight Analyzer for Buried Remains and Decomposition Odor Recognition) is a device used to “sniff” out various chemicals that are released by decaying bodies. Highly useful with missing persons reports. Blood Spatter Improvements. Physicists at Washington State University have recently developed a mathematical way to analyze blood spatter and plotting how blood droplets will fall from a ceiling or wall. Forensic science is the study of all of the available information and evidence that is gathered from a crime scene and how it can be used to answer questions that the legal system has about crimes. Crime scene evidence is made of more than just a murder weapon. It can include blood, fingerprints, body fluids, hair and fibers. Along with the physical evidence that is gathered at a scene, investigators can also gather verbal evidence from testimonies given by witnesses or people in the general area. When physical and verbal evidence fit together, it can help investigators use scientific principles to determine specific information about how a crime was committed, what time it might have occurred, and why it occurred. Evidence taken from a crime scene can also indicate valuable clues about the person who may have committed the crime, such as age, race, and marital status.

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Forensics Help Throughout History