Questions for ‘Forensic scientists gain an edge on crime’

a photo of a woman in a clean suit wearing a face mask and blue gloves. She is inspecting the edge of a car windshield with a light and a brush, looking for fingerprints

Forensics teams often “dust for prints” to find evidence that can identify precisely whose fingers touched something at a crime scene. Some of those prints may have been too faint to detect — until now. A new chemical technique can reveal hidden ones. It’s among a host of new developments to aid crime-solvers.

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To accompany feature “Forensic scientists gain an edge on crime

Science & Society

Before Reading:

1.  What is “forensic science”?

2.  What kinds of evidence might a forensic specialist collect at a crime scene or disaster area?

During Reading:

1.  For what types of unsolved mysteries are forensic specialists called in to help?

2.  What piece of evidence is most useful in helping to solve crimes? Why?

3.  How are fingerprinting databases used to help identify criminal suspects?

4.  How is the new tool called RECOVER helping forensic scientists?

5.  Describe the basics of how the RECOVER system works.

6.  What two questions are most important to answer first when a human body or tissue is found at a disaster site?

7.  What do specialists at the Forens-OMICs lab look for in pieces of bone found at a crime scene or disaster site?

8.  How can DNA from a person’s tissue found at a disaster site help forensic specialists make an ID?

9.  Give a brief explanation of how the HIrisPlex-S system works. How much DNA is required for the system to provide answers?

10. How could HIris-Plex-S help to focus a police investigation?

After Reading:

1.  What different scientific fields do forensic scientists rely on? Give an example for which each scientific field could prove most useful in identification or interpretation of evidence?

2.  Which information do you think would be more important for identification of human remains: the age at death or how long ago the person died? Explain your reasoning.