Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blood Drops Determine Age

Most science writers are well aware of the CSI effect, the idea that television shows that show "forensic science" are actually pretty misleading, and cause the public to believe certain things about forensics that are simply not true. Because of this I think that articles about developments in forensic science are very important because they help shed light on the actual capabilities of tools like blood tests, and DNA analysis.

An article published in Current Biology this week describes a recently developed way to use blood drops to determine age. This capability will most certainly be useful in developing a profile of victims or criminals in cases where blood is a part of the evidence but identity is unknown. The BBC article: test tells age from blood drops.

The technique utilizes a specific type of immune cell, called a T cell. This is a significant development because to date the information contained in a blood sample can only be used to confirm the identity of a known person. With this new technique, researchers can describe characteristics of an unknown person to help identify them.

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