DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Typical samples from which a DNA fingerprint can be obtained in order to identify and convict a rapist. Moving clockwise from top, the samples are: pubic hair (trapped in a comb with cotton wool); blood & semen stains on a torn pair of knickers; a vaginal swab containing semen; a semen stain on a piece of cloth; a blood sample. DNA taken from these samples can be used to produce a pattern of DNA bands - the DNA fingerprint - that is unique to an individual. If a suspect's DNA fingerprint, obtained from his blood sample, matches the DNA fingerprints obtained from the other samples, his connection with the victim is proved beyond doubt.
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