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Research: Applying It on the Front Lines

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
7 pages
This report describes some of the technology initiatives in which the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) has been involved.
The forensic science of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing is an outgrowth of its medical application, where it is used to analyze disease-causing genes, study inheritance patterns and detect alterations. The NIJ, the FBI, and other agencies have worked with the National Academy of Sciences to establish the validity of DNA typing and DNA profiling as a legitimate tool for use in criminal and civil cases. The NIJ is funding projects at several university medical and science centers that are investigating new, quicker, cheaper, and more efficient ways of typing DNA and comparing profiles from separate evidence sources to compute match probabilities. The NIJ is also funding research into methods to extract DNA from the blood of skeletal remains. The NIJ is involved in (specifically for forensics) research and development activities including fingerprinting, developing latent fingerprints, photographic enhancement and other techniques to improve evidence records, detecting carbon monoxide and cyanide, document identification, developing gunshot residue maps and patterns, and computer programs and forensics software. The NIJ is cooperating with other civilian and military organizations in the search for alternatives to deadly force, known as less-than-lethal (LTL) tools. Foam restraining systems, pulsed light devices, and chemical incapacitants are a few of the possibilities under investigation to help NIJ meet the needs of the criminal justice profession.

Date Published: February 1, 2000