Forensic Pathology

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Forensic pathology has given us the ability to discover almost anything about someone using the smallest clues. A hair, tooth, or even tissue from a bullet hole can uncover the answers to a crime scene. It has become so advanced that the accuracy is 1 in 37 trillion. The new testing that's coming out is supposed to be even more accurate. One pathologist says that it could be compared to a computer; with the new developments you're paying the same price (about $2,000 per DNA scan) and getting a lot better data.

It can also be used to prevent deaths and detect harmful drugs in someone. Beacause of the advancements in forensic pathology it has become one of the most helpful contributions to humankind.

Fingerprinting is the easiest, most popular form of identity, but dental X-rays and CAT scans can help a tremendous amount. Charles Wetli, a forensic pathologist was able to identify every victim in an airplane explosion using these techniques.

He can tell if it was a set up suicide or really a homicide by studying injuries that could have resulted from gunshots, poisoning, or a forceful blow. All this info is very expensive to generate though.

Without polymerase chain reaction procedures, capillary gel electrophoresis, or the ABI sequence analyzer DNA tests couldn't even take place. All these tests is how information is found. It used to take 2 to 4 weeks, but now it only takes 2 to 3 days. It all begins when police give specimens to the laboratory where pathologists discover evidence as they run the tests. The technologists search DNA for genetic markers by amplification and run the amplification on a sequence analyzer. If they find DNA, they try to find the genotype, and then of course they double-check their results. The results are...