In this article we will discuss about the Forensic Biotechnology:- 1. Meaning of Forensic Biotechnology 2. Scope of Forensic Biotechnology.
Meaning of Forensic Biotechnology:
Forensic science is a vital instrument for the detection or investigation of crime and the administration of justice by providing crucial information about the evidence found at the crime scene. Forensic biotechnology is an area of medical science that experiences constant breakthrough every now and then.
Forensic analysis of biological evidence using biotechnology methods is increasingly important in criminal investigations. Analysis of proteins in blood (serology), other body fluids and body tissues are some of the traditional methods in forensic analysis.
DNA forensics is now revolutionizing many aspects of criminal investigation which include DNA fingerprinting, DNA foot-printing, DNA profiling, etc. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of DNA samples allows precise identifications to be made from very tiny bits of evidence collected at the crime scene.
Scope of Forensic Biotechnology:
Biotechnology is root of any DNA Forensics (Identification) application. It helps in following:
1. Identify potential suspects whose DNA may match evidence left at crime scene
2. Identify exonerate persons wrongly accused of crimes
3. Identify crime and catastrophe victims
4. Establish paternity and other family relationships
5. Identify endangered and protected species as an aid to wildlife officials (could be used for prosecuting poachers)
6. Detect bacteria and other organisms that may pollute air, water, soil, and food
7. Match organ donors with recipients in transplant programs
8. Determine pedigree for seed or livestock breeds
9. Authenticate consumables such as caviar and wine
The following two techniques are commonly used in the area of forensic medicine mostly in resolving legal issues:
(a) DNA Fingerprinting using Mini-Satellite DNA:
The DNA fingerprinting method was developed by Alec Jeffreys and his colleagues in the year 1985-86. In this technique, DNA is isolated from the blood stains, semen or hair roots and then subjected to southern blotting and DNA hybridization with the help of specific DNA probes.
The probes correspond to hyper- variable mini-satellites in DNA which in turn is made up of tandem repeats of short sequences. This technique helps in the identification of criminals, rapists and other accused individuals using the blood stains, semen stains, etc. on the victim’s clothes or body. It will also help in solving the parental issues in case of doubtful parentage.
(b) Autoantibody Fingerprinting using Dipsticks:
Autoantibodies are a class of antibodies that react with cellular components in humans and other animal species. These human autoantibodies increase in number from birth up to the age of two years after which they remain constant for decades, if not lifelong.
The complement of these antibodies present in an individual is unique and for this reason they have been named Individual Specific Autoantibodies. These autoantibodies when physically separated comprise an antibody fingerprint that serves to identify certain people of interest. For this purpose body fluids such as blood, semen, tears, saliva and perspiration can also be used.