Accurate genetic photo fits, microbiomes and portable/on-the-go diagnostic labs are emerging elements among the medical professionals’ toolkit in medical forensics to help catch the criminals and solve complex cases. Though it isn’t all CSI, notdue to lack of high-techbut television distortions, the future is bright for forensic medicine.
CSI & effects
The famous Hollywood series, CSI have millions of viewers across the world who believe in that hocus-pocus digital technology is the reality of forensic science and medicine as well as a primary tool-kit to identify criminals fast and efficient.
From UV powered cameras that reveal bruises just been healed, luminol which outlines the blood traces on leather jackets, UV lights that scours the room for any fluid-like evidence to perform DNA exam; CSI effects are indeed praiseworthy.
The Wall Street Journal, in 2005 mentioned that naïve juries are misled by the television, believing that their local crime laboratories are far smarter and definitive, deciding on a prosecutor from accurate DNA results. In real world, collecting and analysing samples is far lengthier and challenging whereas many cases don’t even require DNA evidence.
Standards of fingerprints to pre-crime
Whatever the special effects and the thrill of CSI, there’s definitely a need for high-tech solutions in criminal justice since it promises reliable tools and potential to solve complicated cases with hard evidence. It must be noted that forensics deal beyond the murdered law enforcers and criminal justice cases. This specific medical division deals with application of medical expertise in establishing hard facts for civil and criminal legal aspects.
It considers gathering and analysing of evidence ranging from genetics and toxicology to identifying offenders and have them prosecuted. Many of us believed that by end of 19th century, we would’ve achieved the technology which allow the dead to actually see murderer as in the Hollywood-blockbuster Minority Report, such is highly unlikely even in the 21st century so far.
Genetics; to rip-off perpetrators
The medical procedure or technology which allow us to identify a suspect through unique genetic blueprint have been around since 1985. It happened so when Alec Jeffreys and his associates in England first validated the use of DNA in criminal investigation. Since then, DNA testing has been the holy grail of forensic medicine but the results from the samples come back in weeks, not hours as we usually see in television.
DNA test can indeed help in tracing criminals when circumstances allow. Standard testing takes into account isolating the DNA, screen the genetic code for “short tandem repeats”; the pieces of DNA. The fragments not necessarily code the valuable proteins but actually differentiate between individuals, which helps to put apart people and provide evidence ofbloodlines. When a perpetrator’s DNA test is performed, it’s analysed against the available DNA catalogues. Interpol mentioned that in 2009, approximately 54 countries invested in DNA databases and the number has been growing since then alongside the scope of collected databases.
Plotting photofits from the DNA
In near future, it’s predicted that investigators are likely to level up by reconstructing physical features from genetic information; this is the core essence of DNA phenotyping.
Manfred Kayser and Susan Walsh; in 2010 developed the IrisPlex system which uses six DNA markers to identify eye colour of an individual. Recently, DNA phenotypingcan accurately tell gender of an individual, colour of the hair and eyes, physical height, skin colour, freckles or dimples so on. This data is more or less 70% accurate that’s altogether intriguing and scary to some extent.
Microbiomes; leading evidence to Sherlocks
Human organism contains approximately 37 trillion human cells; the microbiomethat are made up of a bulk of bacteria. Another study further concludes that a human being’s capable to release approximately 37 million bacteria every hour, which is the total number of microorganisms we contribute to every room. It means we all leave behind traces of microbiomes to everything that comes in contact.
The coming of digital find a doctor apps further take forensic medicine to a new level with above being a few breakthroughs.