Forensic analysis

Forensic analysis

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This image is part of the feature Forensic Science

Credit: MAURO FERMARIELLO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Forensic analysis. Cigarette butt seen through a magnifying glass as a forensic scientist peels off the filter paper. This will be subjected to DNA analysis to link a suspect to a crime scene. The filter paper will contain traces of saliva and skin cells from the smoker. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is found in cells, and is used as a genetic fingerprint to uniquely identify an individual. It is possible to detect even tiny amounts of DNA. Databases now contain DNA details of thousands of criminals and other individuals. DNA evidence is considered conclusive proof that a suspect was at a crime scene. Other tissues can be analysed for DNA, including blood, hair, bones and nails.

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