The Reality of Forensics

Forensic Files, NCIS, C.S.I, Bones, and Dexter, are just a few well-known and highly anticipated shows on television today.

When watching these suspenseful shows, surely the question of “is this fact or fiction” comes to mind. Are these shows strictly for your entertainment value? Or can these hair-raising crime investigations contribute anything helpful to your understanding of forensic science.

Because each persons DNA is different, when collected from a crime scene, it can do one of two things: eliminate a suspect, or link a suspect to the evidence found at the crime scene.

Dioxyribonucleic Acid, better known as DNA, is a component of virtually every cell in the human body. It is the building block for an individuals entire genetic make-up. A persons DNA will never change. For example: The same DNA found in a males blood, will be the same exact DNA found in his saliva, semen, and skin cells.

It is virtually impossible for a crime to take place, DNA samples collected at the scene, sent to a lab to be tested, and the “bad guy” be caught, as shown in a 60 minute episode of C.S.I. Although we’d all love to believe forensic testing happens within a one-hour time span, the reality is, the process is very detailed and extensive. We must consider the many reasons behind forensic DNA testing.

Common reasons for forensic testing are situations such as, sexual assault/rape, murder, burglary, criminal paternity, missing persons identification, and drug paraphernalia. The more evidence collected in a case, the better. Each piece gathered tells a distinct story of events that may have occurred. Items most commonly tested for forensic testing are items such as: weapons, articles of clothing, toothbrushes, cigarette butts, gloves, drink containers, urine, blood, hats, and fingernail scrapings, just to name a few. DNA and fingerprints can be found just about anywhere. Don’t for one second underestimate the power of forensics.

Forensic DNA Testing is more than a testing service, but a valuable tool when identification issues are at stake.

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