Forensics can now perfectly identify people using a new DNA technique. The method uses hair proteins along with DNA profiling and can match individuals out of millions of people.
The study on this method was published on Wednesday in the Plus One journal. Experts have looked into identifying people, who have been dead for a long time or who are alive by using a protein naturally found in human hair.
The method has applications in forensic and archaeological technologies.
DNA profiling is the current gold standard in forensic science and archaeology. However, it has got disadvantages. It degrades over time, because of chemical and environmental factors. This limits its uses.
Protein, however, is more stable and it has unique properties which could make it unique to every individual.
The study authors have found that by identifying a set of protein markers they are able to find an individual within the entire world population, by using a single hair. This provides police and law enforcement, but also archeologists and other authorities a new identification tool.
The new technique is similar in development to the first days of DNA profiling. The method could mean a whole new level for forensics, and it hasn’t even reached its full potential.
In the future, this new method could replace DNA profiling which is still the main technique used to identify individuals.
The researchers did several test with the DNA hair protein technique. One of them was dating archaeological hair samples which are 250 years old.
Tests also showed that human hair is one of the traits which make us unique and that each human’s hair has slightly different genetic information which can be used to identify people.
The study was successful so far, but it has to be replicated on a larger scale, with many different racial groups and with people from different areas of the world.
Proteins are some of the elements that make up DNA. The DNA consists of long molecule chains which differ from person to person. Changes in proteins happen because of DNA mutations. Scientists can now measure these mutations to tell different people appart.
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