Infographic: Advancing Forensic Science

Forensic scientists have been using rudimentary molecular techniques for decades. But advanced forensic anthropology technologies and
methods are just now coming to the fore in some investigations.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Dec 31, 2016

Currently approved and accepted forensic anthropology methods include creating a so-called biological profile of a crime victim or set of remains. This involves taking several measurements, especially of skeletal and cranial features, that can indicate age, gender, stature, and even ancestry.



Genetic analyses have been used in crime solving since the 1980s. Investigators sequence the DNA of victims and/or suspects to establish presence or absence at a scene or familial relationships, among other applications. Traditionally, this sequencing involves older technologies, such as Sanger sequencing, and targets only small portions of the genome. More recently, some forensic scientists are advocating for the use of next-generation sequencing, which can capture whole genomes and fragments of degraded DNA too small for Sanger sequencing to capture, to provide more information about the individual of interest, including clues about ancestry and phenotypic traits.



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Infographic: Advancing Forensic Science

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