The Importance of Forensic Science Technologies
Forensic science is essential in investigating crimes all around the world. Without it, less credible evidence would be the only option to reach life-or-death decisions. Today, law enforcement has more tools and resources at its disposal, thanks to improvements in forensic technology.
The demand for forensics technology has increased over time. In addition, public interest in forensics has grown, thanks to the popularity of crime-themed television series such as CSI, Making a Murderer, Hannibal, and Law and Order. Nonetheless, they don’t adequately portray the science. Regardless of what people think is or isn’t achievable on television, technological advancements assist law enforcement worldwide in solving crimes and closing the books on cold cases. An example of these technologies is laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS).
LA-ICP-MS helps in solid material compositional analysis. For instance, when glass is extracted in a crime scene, even little bits can help find clues such as bullet direction, impact power, or the type of weapon used in a crime. The LA-ICP-MS machine breaks down glass samples to nearly their atomic structure sizes using sensitive isotopic identification capabilities. Then, forensic investigators can match even the tiniest glass pieces discovered on clothes to a glass sample recovered from a crime scene.
Massively parallel sequencing (MPS) determines a genome’s nucleotide sequence. This method uses DNA sequencing tools that can process numerous DNA sequences simultaneously. MPS also provides simultaneous mutation screening at hundreds of loci in genetically diverse diseases, whole-genome mutation screening, and sequence-based pathogen detection. It allows for quick and cost-effective whole human genome mutation scans. Additionally, it provides information regarding DNA evidence, which is vital in solving missing people instances and significant disasters.
Forensic proteomics involves studying protein sequences in a sample to give DNA clues of the organism producing them. The term ‘proteome’ refers to protein sets that a cell, system, or organism produces. The proteome of each individual is unique, just as each human has a unique genome different from others. Using a mass spectrophotometer, forensic proteomics can give important evidence on a protein-based poison, drug, or doping hormone in sports. It can also aid in evaluating post-mortem decomposition in bones and studying human hair.
Magnetic fingerprinting and automated fingerprint identification (AFIS) can quickly and easily match a fingerprint found at a crime scene to a large virtual database. Furthermore, magnetic fingerprinting dust and no-touch wanding allow detectives to obtain a precise imprint of fingerprints at a crime scene while avoiding contamination.
Carbon dating is used to identify anthropological and archaeological remains ages. Carbon-14 dating, often known as radiocarbon dating, is a method of determining an age that relies on radiocarbon decay to nitrogen (Carbon-14). Because the quantity of radiocarbon has grown and reduced to various levels over the last 50 years, this approach helps identify forensic remains using the same equipment.
When samples are highly degraded, DNA sequencing allows analyzing old bones or teeth to determine a specific person’s DNA nucleobases ordering. It also generates a ‘read,’ a unique DNA pattern that can help identify that person as a possible suspect or criminal.
Different parts of the human body have diverse populations of microbes or microbiota. However, the considerable variances between individual people’s microbiota may yield unique bacterial profiles for forensics. In a micro-biome study, researchers discovered that an individual’s pubic hair microbiota might be transmitted during intercourse, implying its potential in sexual assault cases. This makes it simpler to prove a person committed an offense if their microbe population matches a victim’s.