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Forensics: Analysis of bloodstains


What do you know about Forensics? Don’t answer this question!!! Just think
about it before reading this article.

The study of proteins has many applications to forensics. One of them is the
examination of bloodstains, blood being the most common form of evidence examined
by a forensic serologist.
The presence of blood can link a suspect to both a victim and a crime scene. Bloodstain
patterns can also give evidence of how a violent attack took place. Criminals recognize
the significance of this evidence and often try to conceal it.
Blood is mostly water, but it also contains a number of additional materials including
cells, proteins, and enzymes. The fluid portion, or plasma, is mostly water. The serum is
yellowish and contains platelets and white blood cells. The platelets, or red blood cells,
outnumber the white blood cells by about 500 to 1. White blood cells are medically
important, whereas red blood cells and, to a lesser extent, serum are important to the
forensic serologist. Because blood quickly clots when exposed to air, serologists must
separate the serum from the clotted material. The serum contains antibodies that have
forensic applications, and red blood cells have substances such as antigens on their
surfaces that also have forensic applications. Antibodies and antigens are the keys to
forensic serology: Even identical twins with identical DNA have different antibodies. _
Is this a blood sample?
To answer this question, the investigator can use a number of tests. The generic term for
a test of this type is a presumptive test. The Kastle-Meyer test uses phenolphthalein,
which, when it comes into contact with hemoglobin, or a few other substances, forms a
bright pink color from the release of peroxidase enzymes. The luminol test is useful in
detecting invisible bloodstains because, in contact with blood, or a few other chemicals,
luminol emits light, which can be seen in a darkened room.
Is the blood from a human or an animal?
The forensic investigator answers this question (and the next one, if applicable) by
means of an antiserum test. It is important to know whether the blood came from a
human or an animal such as a pet. The standard test is the precipitin test. Injecting
human blood into an animal results in the production of antibodies in the animal’s
bloodstream, and isolating these antibodies from the animal’s blood yields an antiserum.
If human antiserum creates clotting in a blood sample, the sample must be human.
Written by r John T. Moore,Richard H. Langley