A Brief Idea About Genetic Research And Its Applications In Forensics
Traditionally it was seen that genetic research in forensics was only carried out when information was needed to be extracted from samples containing human DNA. With time and progresses made in the field, the situation has changed drastically! Genetics in forensic science plays a much important role. It has a range of applications apart from assisting in civil investigations and court cases!
The range of applications consists of extracting information from non-human genetic material obtained from crime scenes. It opened up new avenues for law enforcers and the authorities. Contemporary genetic advancements help authorities to solve cold cases that were left on the shelf due to lack of evidence.
What are non-human genetic materials?
Non-human genetic material mainly consists of samples that may or may not belong to animal species, plants or even micro-organisms. These samples are loaded with ample information that can help the authorities to track down criminals and terrorist organizations after the crime scene has been thoroughly investigated by a forensic team.
Modern-day genetic research also finds extensive use in keeping new-age terrorism like bioterrorism and biocrimes (smuggling of endangered plant/animal life) under check!
Genetic research helped in the evolution of forensic science
Forensic genetics is the perfect amalgamation of legal medicine and criminal science. If one takes a look at the history of forensic genetics, it is easy to decide that it is the result of years of technological and theoretical developments. The continued efforts of forensic scientists and geneticists led to the development and expansion of this amazing branch of science!
One of the most important driving forces that led to the broadening of forensic genetics is the introduction of new forms of solutions to old disputes and theories that led to dead ends. New thinking and solutions to old problems put forth by contemporary generations of genetic researchers helped forensic science to become an indispensable tool for the authorities when it comes to solving cases and preventing mishaps!
The process of collecting information from samples in lucid terms
It starts off with a request to obtain a sample for genetic testing. It is followed by the collection of genetic material using a sampling kit. The collected samples are then transported in a temperature-controlled container to a laboratory for further evaluation.
The samples are labeled where the exact information about the nature, origin and generic description of the sample is included. Each sample is assigned a unique code so that if the same is subpoenaed for legal identification or for any form of legal processing, it can be found easily in a sample bank.
Coming back to the genetic information extraction process – the same is extracted using a validated procedure that depends on the category of the sample. In case the information needs to be extracted urgently in case of threats related to say, bioterrorism then the process followed may or may not be previously validated!
It should be kept in mind that although modern day genetics has made considerable progress, it is still a fragile process, to begin with! One must take ample care and precautionary measures so that the collected sample doesn’t get contaminated in any way! One of the safest ways to get the genetic information you need is to go for total RNA isolated from hard to obtain tissues. It is a proven process that has impressive, well-documented results!