Home pagePress monitoringUsing dust to bust crime scene DNA forensics

Using dust to bust crime scene DNA forensics

Date: 20.11.2023 

An airborne fraction of soil, or dust, contains biological and chemical "signatures" that act as a fingerprint to a specific location. Australian forensic science experts, led by Flinders University, have highlighted the usefulness of the latest technology by testing a series of field sites in South Australia for their unique chemical and biological profiles.

Kredit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain.This work is strong evidence for including dust as a medium in forensic intelligence gathering to incorporate as a standard tool in future forensic casework.

Previous research, that including experts at the Forensic DNA Laboratory at Flinders University, has established the viability of testing even the smallest trace of dust, down to only 3 mg, as potential evidence of the location or source of material, personal effect or an object.

"Dust is found everywhere. It stays on clothing and items after you have traveled and leaves a trace for where you have been," says Flinders University forensic science researcher Dr. Nicole Foster, who currently is a researcher at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Institute in the U.S.

"Armed with this knowledge, we undertook a field experiment, leaving items at various locations in South Australia to collect dust and observe whether these chemical and biological (bacteria and fungi) signatures were distinct between sites. "We found that the dust recovered from each item contained chemical and biological profiles that were unique to sites but these profiles were variable within sites and over time.

Image source: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain.





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