The wonders of DNA
or to use its full name deoxyribonucleic acid.
Back in 1984, when Dr Alec Jeffreys developed the procedure of DNA fingerprinting, the world of crime detection took on a whole new level. His work at the University of Leicester, UK, had far-reaching implications across the world, and led to another option in the crime writers tool-kit.
As I mentioned on my Blood Analysis post, I want to pay attention to the little details when writing crime fiction. I don’t want to write a physics manual, but a little knowledge helps. Whether that’s from CSI Vegas or a Forensic Science book. The research is varied and fun. 🙂
Biologicals are a great source of DNA, be it hair, skin, tissue or bones and fluids. If character X goes out and strangles Miss Y then they are likely to leave skin samples around her neck. Did she struggle and grapple with her killer? If so she is likely to have scratched them and would have skin underneath her fingernails or a few hairs deposited on X’s clothing.
Be creative with the evidence. DNA can survive for centuries in the right conditions so that historical novel you’re writing can splice with your modern-day story. Richard III was recently discovered underneath a car park. DNA was used to validate that it really was him and he died in 1485!
Your killer of Miss Y will probably have worn gloves, but there are other ways for your CSI and Detectives can find the DNA evidence to trap them. The cigarette butts left across the road, the chewing gum or the sneeze in the discarded tissue. There are many options to use.
When they do find any evidence, is X’s DNA going to be on file or would that would be too easy. Oh, yes. Far too easy. 🙂
I found the DNA weeks of the Forensic course fascinating, albeit very technical. It certainly gave me a number of ideas on how to trap my killer and build the clues and red herrings.
And remember, DNA could be used to confirm whether your characters are really long-lost siblings, or related to Great Uncle Ernie. It’s not just about your Detective solving a series of murders.
This is my D post for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. A list of all my A to Z Blogging Challenge posts are to be found here.
My pictures today are from the Dolomite mountains, Italian side. One of the most breathtaking places I have ever had the pleasure to visit. Talk about FRESH air. My lungs thought it was their birthday!