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Fighting Crime With Science

NCJ Number
249219
Date Published
Author(s)
Jim Dawson
Publication Series
NIJ Journal
Annotation
This report reviews a few of the hundreds of research projects that the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, has supported in forensic science disciplines.
Abstract
Among the forensic science disciplines represented in NIJ research are the science of DNA and its application in the forensic field; trace evidence analysis; fingerprint comparison, firearm matching and blood-spatter pattern interpretation; toxicology; forensics related to digital devices; and crime scene investigation. Four NIJ-funded forensic science research projects are the focus of this report. One of the projects is studying drugs used by attendees at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, which has a longstanding reputation for attracting youth who use designer drugs. During the first sample year, 145 volunteers attending the festival agreed to be tested for various drug types. Results are briefly reported in this article. A second project has developed a stamp-sized paper “chip” that uses capillary action to field test for five types of explosives. A third project is developing software that will aid in the reconstruction of fragmented bones, with a focus on mixed fragments from multiple individuals. The fourth project is focusing on identifying and analyzing the genes that determine the features of a human face, including hair, eye, and skin pigmentation as well as facial features based on the analysis of a strand of DNA. Titles and grant numbers are provided for access to detailed descriptions of eight NIJ research projects related to some aspect of the forensic sciences.
Date Created: November 4, 2015