Forensic Biology has been expanded today with various molecular biology discoveries and technological advances. Numerous methods adopted by forensic laboratories include Polymerase Chain Reaction, Fragment Analysis, Software systems, and automatic liquid handling methods.
Progression of Sanger sequencing, Next Generation sequencing, Mitochondrial analysis is the widely accepted technologies and tools for solving criminal cases.
Beyond Fingerprint Analysis
Fingerprint consist of organic, inorganic materials ,and fats secreted from the skin. Fingerprints reveal a lot of information from the person. In the future, fingerprints from the leftover skin cells can be analyzed through an atomic force microscope, collected using optical tweezers equipped with steREO Lumar.
V12 Stereo Microscope and UV unit, and can be amplified using an AmpFISTR amplification kit. This technology can be used to analyze DNA from the crime scene to analyze the suspect.
From GenoTyping to Forensic Phenotyping
Human phenotypes such as iris, skin, and hair color can be predicted with the help of because of single nucleotide polymorphism present in human genes.
These SNP data have been translated by ThermoFischer scientific to develop a forensic phenotyping system “HIrisPlex ” which helps to predict eye and hair color using 6 genetic markers.
This system works on the single base extension of primers using fluorescently labeled ddNTP terminator in developing SNP Profiles. This Phenotyping instrument is going to be an important system in forensic investigations after the inclusion of human skin SNP alleles.
Facial recognition software
Facial recognition software can be used to identify victims in a disaster or match an accused to a database. The software companies can produce a 3D picture of a person’s face using 3D sensors that recognizes nasal bone, bone shape, eye socket, etc.
Morphometrics (a measurement of body shapes) can be used to identify the remains of missing children.
Microbial Forensics is the recent field that uses microbiology techniques for the analysis of crime scene evidence. The assorted forms of crimes include bioterrorism, biological agents that were accidentally released. The change in microbes and can even be analyzed in rape cases.
Microbes in male and female changes and swap after sex. This aids in understanding sexual act occurred between a particular man and woman.
Virtual Autopsy (Virtopsy)
An Autopsy is a conventional method of dissecting a dead body to find the actual reason for death. It is uncomfortable for the dead person’s family to dissect the body.
A virtual autopsy is a method that uses post mortem computed tomography (PMCT) to scan the human body can analyze the reason for the death of the human body. Virtual Autopsy is very expensive and is expected to decrease the cost in the future.
Future prospective of Forensic Science
Portable forensic labs with handheld sniffers and microfluidic devices would help to present results in the crime scene instantly. The Next Generation Sequencing Method delivers the results quickly and genomic data obtained will be accurate.
One of the advancement is the use of Raman spectroscopy in the identification of various suspicious powders.
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) aids in identifying drugs rather than using heavy instruments and also in a short period.
Lasers and scanners can help in identifying the suspect from the crime scene. The upgrade of portable forensic labs with the access of facial recognition software and fingerprint scans thereby analyzing the data would exonerate the innocents and will bring culprits to justice.