MAURO FERMARIELLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MAURO FERMARIELLO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fibre analysis. Light micrograph of a fibre found in a bathroom where a crime took place. The fibre has a central shaft (dark), indicating that it is a natural fibre (hair). Further analysis can show whether this is human or animal hair. The width of the fibre (labelled) helps to identify it, since this varies on different parts of the body. DNA can sometimes be extracted from hair. The fibre will be compared to fibre and hair samples taken from a suspect. If the samples match, then the suspect will have been placed at the scene of the crime. Trace substances can be recovered from hair and fibres, and a suspect's race and some diseases can sometimes be deduced from a hair sample.
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